TAAL Volcano emits ash. — REUTERS/ELOISA LOPEZ

STATE seismologists on Thursday said a large-scale eruption of Taal Volcano could not be ruled out as magma continues to build up below the volcano.

“Magma may continue going up and there would be a big explosion,” Renato U. Solidum, Jr., director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), said at a briefing streamed on Facebook.

Phivolcs measured an average of 141 tons of sulfur dioxide, according to its 8 a.m. report. This was slightly lower than the 153 tons it measured on Wednesday morning.

The agency has recorded “weak to moderate emission of white-steam laden plumes” that went as high as 500 meters in the past 24 hours.

Phivolcs has also recorded 731 volcanic earthquakes since Jan. 12, 176 of which were felt with intensities 1 to 5.

About 81,000 families in Batangas, Quezon, Laguna and Cavite were affected by Taal Volcano’s eruption, according to the local disaster agency’s 6 am report.

More than 39,000 families were taking temporary shelter in 500 evacuation centers while 30,325 families were being served outside them, it said.

Taal Volcano remained under Alert Level 4, which means “hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.” — Genshen L. Espedido