MANILA, Philippines — High sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission at Taal volcano was recorded on Thursday (August 19) by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
Based on the August 19, 4:30 p.m. bulletin, the measurement of volcanic sulfur dioxide or SO2 flux from the Taal Main Crater totaled 15,347 tonnes per day, marking a rising trend in volcanic SO2 degassing since August 13.
In the same period, tall steam-rich plumes that rose 1,000-3,000 meters were also generated by the Taal Main Crater.
“The high SO2 flux, water vapor emitted in plumes, weak air movement and solar radiation will continue to produce volcanic smog or vog over the Taal region,” Phivolcs reported.
Hazy conditions were also observed over Taal Lake and surrounding municipalities surrounding Taal Lake.
Phivolcs also received reports of adverse effects of the emission on some residents of Talisay and Brgy. Barigon, Agoncillo.
Vog consists of fine droplets containing volcanic gas such as SO2 which is acidic and can cause irritation of the eyes, throat, and respiratory tract in severities depending on the gas concentrations and durations of exposure.
The agency also reminded the public to limit exposure, avoid outdoor activities, stay indoors, and shut doors and windows.
The public should also cover the nose, ideally with an N95 facemask. Drink plenty of water to reduce any throat irritation or constriction.
Phivolcs recommends that health checks be conducted by local government officials on communities affected by vog to assess the severity of SO2 impacts on their constituents and to consider temporary evacuation of severely exposed residents to safer areas.
Alert Level 2 (Increased Unrest) prevails over Taal Volcano and that the threat of sudden steam- or gas-driven explosions and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within and around Taal Volcano Island. -AAC