Evacuation Underway As Volcano Triggers “Magmatic Unrest”

Philippine authorities have begun to evacuate thousands of people Thursday after the alert status for Taal volcano, located near capital Manila, was raised following a "magmatic intrusion."

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Philippine authorities have begun to evacuate thousands of people Thursday after the alert status for Taal volcano, located near capital Manila, was raised following a “magmatic intrusion.”

“At 3:16 p.m., the Taal volcano’s main crater generated a short-lived dark phreatomagmatic plume 1 km-high with no accompanying volcanic earthquake,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said in a statement.

The seismology agency raised the alert level for Taal from 2 to 3 after a .62 mile-high plume of gas and steam was ejected into the atmosphere.

“This means that there is a magmatic intrusion at the main crater that may further drive succeeding eruptions,” the agency warned.

The seismology agency said the towns of Agoncillo and Laurel, situated near Taal, are in possible danger.

Mark Timbal, a spokesman for the government’s disaster-response agency, said thousands of residents have already begun to evacuate from five high-risk villages. He said up to 14,000 people may have to evacuate today.

In January last year, Taal shot a column of ash and steam as high as 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) into the sky, displacing 380,000 people and destroyed homes, roads, farms, and vital infrastructure. It’s one of the Philippines’ more active volcanoes.

The magmatic unrest could suggest more activity at Taal is ahead.

While the situation could go either way, authorities on Thursday warned the type of eruption could potentially be more hazardous than that of last year.
Water in Taal’s crater boiled before and after its eruption, a video posted on the Facebook page of the seismology agency showed.
Magma made contact with the crater’s water, which then turned into gas and vapor, known as a phreatomagmatic eruption.
“Phreatomagmatic is more dangerous because there’s already an interaction with magma,” Maria Antonia Bornas, chief of the agency’s monitoring and eruption prediction division, told a news conference.
The towns of Agoncillo and Laurel, situated on the lake surrounding the Taal volcano, were in danger from eruption and volcanic tsunami, the seismology agency said.
The national disaster bureau warned of eruption-related quakes.
The evacuation of Agoncillo started late afternoon, Batangas provincial governor Hermilando Mandanas said, with more than 3,500 families — nearly 14,500 people — to be moved to safe areas.
Dump trucks were sent to assist and pay loaders and evacuation centers were being readied, he added.

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