Multiple new fissures (cracks) were observed around Taal volcano on January 14, 2020, two days after intense unrest began. Fissures, accompanied by intense seismicity activity, are an indication of an imminent explosive eruption, PHIVOLCS warns. The agency strongly reiterated total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and areas at high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami within a 14 km (8.6 miles) radius from the volcano. Areas around the volcano are advised to guard against the effects of heavy and prolonged ashfall. New eruption could force more than 200 000 additional people from their homes.
Taal volcano entered a period of intense unrest beginning with phreatic / steam-driven eruption at several points inside the Main Crater at 06:04 UTC on January 12, 2020. The activity progressed into a magmatic eruption from 08:49 to 20:28 UTC, characterized by weak lava fountaining accompanied by thunder and flashes of lightning. According to the Tokyo VAAC, volcanic ash cloud reached an altitude of 16.7 km (55 000 feet) above sea level. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission was measured at an average of 5 299 tonnes/day on January 13, 2020.
In 24 hours to 00:00 UTC on January 14, the activity was characterized by the continuous eruption at the Main Crater due to magmatic and hydrovolcanic activity. This ongoing eruption generated 500-meter (1 640 feet) tall lava fountains topped by dark gray steam-laden plumes reaching approximately 2 km (1.2 miles) that dispersed ash to the southwest and west of the Main Crater. Flashes of volcanic lightning were observed at the base of the degassing plumes.
New vents opened up on the northern flank, with 500 m (1 640 feet) tall lava fountains, and within the main crater where steam plumes, have emanated.
Heavy ashfall from the ongoing continuous activity has fallen on the municipalities of Lemery, Talisay, Taal, and Cuenca, Batangas.
By 02:00 UTC on January 14, PHIVOLCS registered a total of 336 volcanic earthquakes, of which 133 were felt -- M1.2 to 4.1.
At 05:00 UTC, lava fountains generated 800 m (2 620 feet) tall dark gray steam-laden plumes that drifted to the general southwest.
New fissures or cracks were observed in Sinisian, Mahabang Dahilig, Dayapan, Palanas, Sangalang, Poblacion, Lemery; Pansipit, Agoncillo; Poblacion 1, Poblacion 2, Poblacion 3, Poblacion 5, Talisay and Poblacion, San Nicolas. A fissure was also documented across the road connecting Agoncillo to Laurel, Batangas.
PHIVOLCS said that fissuring on the caldera region means that the top of the volcano has been depressurized and the high volume of magma continues to rise, indicating an imminent explosive eruption. Another indication of an impending explosive eruption is an intense seismic activity.
The agency added that similar fissures have appeared before the explosive eruption of 1911 (January 27 - February 8; VEI 3).
A total of 40 752 people were affected; of which 38 203 are taking temporary shelter in 198 evacuation centers, NDRRMC reported at 10:00 UTC today.
Alert Level 4 still remains in effect - this means that hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.
PHIVOLCS strongly reiterates total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and areas at high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami within a 14 km (8.6 miles) radius from Taal Main Crater. Areas around Taal Volcano are advised to guard against the effects of heavy and prolonged ashfall.