Public warned about further ashfalls

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Ashfall after the eruption of the Taal Volcano is seen in Tagaytay City, Cavite on Jan. 13 in this picture obtained from social media. -- JEROME AUSTRIA ABUAN VIA REUTERS

THE nation’s local volcanology agency asked the public to wear face masks as Taal Volcano in Batangas province continued to emit ash.

Minor eruptions driven by steam create fine ash, Ma. Antonia V. Bornas, chief science research specialist at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), said at a briefing streamed on Facebook.

“The powdery ash is released into the atmosphere where it stays for as long as three days,” she said in Filipino.

If the eruption plume remains below five kilometers, the ash could drift to the south and southwest of the Main Crater, according to Phivolcs.

If a major eruption results in an ash column of more than five kilometers, the ash could drift to the eastern and northeastern sectors and may fall on portions of Batangas, Laguna and Quezon, it added.

Taal Volcano continued to have “infrequent weak explosions that generated dark gray ash plumes 500 to 1000 meters tall,” the agency said in an 8 a.m. report on Sunday.

Phivolcs has recorded 691 volcanic earthquakes in the Taal region since Jan. 12, 175 of which were felt with intensities ranging from 1 to 5, it said.

These earthquakes signified “continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice” that could lead to further eruptions, it said.

Taal Volcano remains under alert level 4 which means “hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.” — Genshel L. Espedido