The following is from the Manila Bulletin, 2 August 1999.


By Genalyn D. Kabiling

Mud-laden geyser emissions of Taal Volcano increased yesterday, prompting volcanologists to consider issuing an alert to warn nearby villagers. However, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) allayed fears of an immediate eruption at the Taal volcano in Batangas, about 75 kilometers south of Manila.

July Sabit of Philvolcs said that geyser emissions from the volcano's vent have occured more often, lasting for a day. However, the earthquakes, none felt by humans, have subsided in the last four days after an increase of quakes two weeks ago. Taal volcano has occasionally belched smoke and muddy water in a vent that appeared to be bubbling, he added.

Taal volcano became restive emitting mud geysers reaching a height of five meters at the north side of the main crater lake on Feb. 18 (see below). Additional seismographs were installed to monitor crater lake water level, temperatures and water chemistry in the volcano.

Although authorities have declared the whole volcano a permanent danger zone, about 6,000 people, mostly farmers and fishers, live on its slopes near the shores, Punongbayan said. Philvolcs has warned people especially living in nearby areas to stay away from Taal Volcano though they were not ordered to evacuate the area.

And additional information from Newsflash, 2 August 1999.


By Sol Jose Vanzi

Taal volcano's reactivated vent along the Daang Kastila trail yesterday spewed a geyser of hot mud for nine hours, accompanied by three high-frequency volcanic quakes and moderate steaming. In its latest advisory, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the emission of mud and boiling water was the longest geysering episode since Taal showed signs of activity three months ago.

Earlier, volcanologists explained that the steaming and geysering could have been brought about by the heavy rains which caused water to seep through the vents and cracks and get into contact with hot volcanic material.

The following is from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 23 February 1999.

Taal Volcano getting restive

By Carlito Pablo

TAAL Volcano is getting restive again, spewing 6-meter high geysers of mud and boiling water. The volcano's ''abnormal activity'' has been observed since Thursday, Feb. 18, and Pedro Lumabi Jr., a monitoring officer of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, said the geysers were a sign that the volcano was active.

Lumabi said the geysers continued sporadically from Friday to Sunday, when they started to weaken. ''As of today (Feb. 22), we're only observing some steaming activity,'' he said. Phivolcs field crew reported yesterday (Feb. 22) that the base of the active vent where geysering occurred has a diameter of 10.25 meters and a depth of 7.5 meters. The temperature of the active vent ''cannot be measured yet because the crater is too deep by this time,'' the report said.

The geysers were reported to be in the vicinity of the popular Daang Kastila, a trail used by tourists for hiking and horseback riding to get a good view of the crater lake. Residents of six towns on and around Taal's slope were advised to be ready to evacuate should the situation worsen. Tourists were also told to stay away from the northeast sector of the main crater lake, where mud first fountained for one hour, from 11 a.m. to noon last Thursday.

In a report to Science Secretary Felimon Uriarte Jr. dated Feb. 20, Phivolcs Director Raymundo Punongbayan said the site of the hot geysers, called fumarole, is ''a thermal area where other steam vents have more or less emitted steam and boiling water.''

''These hot grounds extend northward beyond the main crater and underlie the southern segment of the Daang Kastila trail visited by the tourists,'' he said.

''Unfortunately, this portion of the trail has also been quite active for the past years and, in 1992, when many volcanic earthquakes caused the ground to crack and formed fissures that spanned some 200 meters, cutting directly across the trail.''

Because of ''the uncertainty of Taal's present unrest,'' Punongbayan said Phivolcs was advising people to stay away from the Daang Kastila trail, ''where a sudden surge of activity of larger magnitude'' could occur, ''placing many lives at risk.''

Punongbayan said the activity could take the form of large steam bursts, ''which may take place not only in the crater area but also in the fissures cutting the Daang Kastila trail.'' He added that the geyser was ''previously very active'' on Aug. 23, 1998, and that ''minor activity'' of the same kind was also observed in September that year.

Taal Volcano last erupted in 1977. Its most destructive eruption in modern times occurred in 1965.

Additional seismograph equipment has been installed in the area. It is handled by a Phivolcs quick response team, which is monitoring the volcano's activity round the clock.

In Batangas City, Phivolcs science and research specialist Aristotle Jimenez said the mud and water geysers were shooting up to a height of 4 meters when his group conducted thermal measurement and seismic monitoring on Feb. 20.

He said the six towns likely to be affected by a worsening of volcanic activity were Talisay, San Nicolas, Mataas na Kahoy, Agoncillo, Balete and Laurel.

Police Supt. Jefferson Soriano, head Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, has placed a team of police officers and PDCC officials on alert, ready to start evacuating residents if necessary.

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