Fountains of lava gushed out of Taal volcano in the Philippines after a sudden eruption of steam and ash that forced thousands of people to flee their homes.
Clouds of ash blew over 60 miles north of Taal volcano, reaching Metro Manila and closing down the main airport temporarily. Dozens of domestic and international flights were put on hold for around four hours ‘due to volcanic ash in the vicinity of the airport.’
The eruption started with an explosion of superheated rock and steam. Fountains of lava had been spotted and lightings periodically played above the volcano.
The alert level was raised to 4, with 5 as the maximum, indicating the high possibility of a hazardous eruption.
Taal, one of the smallest active volcanoes in the world, is located in the middle of a lake 45 miles south of Manila.
According to authorities, there was a risk that an eruption could result in tsunami in the lake.
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) said residents shouldn’t let their guard down.
“As we speak, there are still earthquake events so we expect more activities in the next few days,” Philvocs chief Renato Solidum told CNN Philippines.
He also said that the tremblors will persist as magma moves up to the crater, resulting in more explosions.
Philvolcs has also recorded over 200 quakes since Sunday.
“Such intense seismic activity probably signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity.”
The volcano continues to let out steam and fissures have been found in Lemery and Talisay, Batangas. Taal’s activity may last from days to months.
Reneyln Bautista, a 38-year-old mother from Batangas, said she fled from her home with her children as soon as Taal erupted.
“We hurriedly evacuated when the air turned muddy because of the ashfall and it started to smell like gunpowder,” she expressed.
Mayor Wilson Maralit from the town of Balete said to DZMM radio: “We have a problem, our people are panicking due to the volcano because they want to save their livelihood, their pigs and herds of cows.
“We’re trying to stop them from returning and warning that the volcano can explode again anytime and hit them.”
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