The highest levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide emission recorded at the volcano, indicating a possible eruption, officials said.
Another eruption of the Philippines’ second most active volcano may occur anytime soon amid “abnormally high” volcanic gas emissions, government scientists say.
More than 3,000 residents of the high-risk villages around the Taal volcano in Batangas province, 66 km (41 miles) south of the capital Manila, have fled their homes since Thursday, when the volcano erupted, spitting a dark plume of volcanic gas and vapor in the air.
Since then, several volcanic gas and steam explosions have been generated by Taal.
On Sunday, “the highest levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide emissions were recorded … at an average of 22,628 tonnes per day, the highest on record in Taal,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said (Phivolcs) in a newsletter.
The emissions were accompanied by 26 strong and very shallow low-frequency volcanic earthquakes “associated with magmatic outgassing,” he added.
“These observations may indicate that an eruption similar to the July 1, 2021 event could occur anytime soon,” the institute said.
Phivolcs raised the alert at the volcano to level 3, meaning that there was “magmatic extrusion underway at the main crater that could lead to subsequent explosions.”
Taal last erupted on January 12, 2020, displacing more than 376,000 people from surrounding towns.
At the time, 39 people in evacuation centers died from illnesses and accidents caused by heavy ash falls, according to the provincial government.
Taal has erupted 33 times since 1572.
The last eruption there in January 2020 threw ash 15 km high and spat out incandescent lava, crushing dozens of homes, killing livestock and sending more than 135,000 people to shelters.
Taal also has the distinction of being the only known volcano in the world in a lake on an island.
It is a popular tourist destination for its picturesque crater lake.