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Mon Jan 13, 2020, 11:01 AM

Taal volcano has Strombolian-type of eruption overnight- half a million people being evacuated


A Volcano in the Philippines Is Erupting and the Government Is Ordering ‘Total Evacuation’ of a Half Million People

The Taal volcano started spewing out red-hot lava, and shot smoke, pebbles, and ash into the air on Monday.

By David Gilbert
Jan 13 2020, 7:38am

Hundreds of thousands of people have been told to evacuate their homes in the Philippines after a volcano started spewing red-hot lava Monday and covered the surrounding area in a cloud of heavy ash.

The Taal volcano, which sits 37 miles south of the capital Manila on the island of Luzon, began erupting Sunday, sending clouds of steam, ash, and pebble up to nine miles into the air. The resulting ash cloud covered Manila and forced the city’s international airport to shut down.

No planes have been allowed in or out of the airport since, and up to 500 flights have been canceled — though President Rodrigo Duterte’s plane from Davao managed to land at the closed airport on Monday.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), which issues alerts for the volcano, called for “a total evacuation” of up to half a million people in a 17-mile radius around the volcano, because activity at the volcano was intensifying and a “hazardous eruption was imminent.”

Video footage of Sunday’s eruption shows a thick plume of black smoke erupting from the volcano and volcanic lightning inside the clouds of smoke.




The volcano erupted on the afternoon of January 12, 2020, 43 years after its previous eruption in 1977. According to PHIVOLCS director Renato Solidum, a phreatic eruption was first recorded at around 1 pm Philippine Standard Time (UTC+8). Loud rumbling sounds were also felt and heard from the volcano island. By 2:30 pm, PHIVOLCS raised the alert status to Alert Level 2 after a stronger explosion was recorded around 2 pm. It was followed by a stronger explosion by around 3 pm that spew an ash column measuring 100 meters, prompting PHIVOLCS to upgrade the alert status to Alert Level 3 by 4 pm. Furthermore, Solidum also confirmed that there was a magmatic intrusion that is likely the cause of the volcano’s phreatic eruptions on Sunday morning and afternoon. PHIVOLCS ordered an evacuation in the towns of Balete, San Nicolas and Talisay in Batangas and other towns within the shores of Taal Lake. By 7:30 pm, PHIVOLCS upgraded the alert status to Alert Level 4 after volcanic activities intensified as "continuous eruption generated a tall 10 to 15 kilometres (6.2 to 9.3 mi) steam-laden tephra column with frequent volcanic lightning that rained wet ashfall on the general north as far as Quezon City and Caloocan." Ashfall from the volcano were also experienced in Cavite and Laguna and also reached as far as Metro Manila and Clark International Airport.

On Monday, January 13, PHIVOLCS reported that the volcano emitted a Strombolian type of eruption between 2:48 am to 4:28 am. A lava fountain was recorded at 3:20 am.

Before you get hungry, here's the explanation of a Strombolian-type eruption:


A diagram of a strombolian eruption: 1: ash plume, 2: lapilli, 3: volcanic ash fall, 4: lava fountain, 5: volcanic bomb, 6: lava flow, 7: layers of lava and ash, 8: stratum, 9: dike, 10: magma conduit, 11: magma chamber, 12: sill

A Strombolian eruption is a type of volcanic eruption with relatively mild blasts, having a volcanic explosivity index of about 1 to 3. Strombolian eruptions consist of ejection of incandescent cinders, lapilli, and lava bombs, to altitudes of tens to a few hundreds of metres. The eruptions are small to medium in volume, with sporadic violence. This type of eruption is named for the Italian volcano Stromboli.

The Italian vulcanologist Giuseppe Mercalli studied eruptions at Stromboli and Vulcano in 1888–1890, and observed that the characteristic features of eruptions were different between the two. To distinguish between them, Mercalli defined Strombolian eruptions as "Mildly explosive at discrete but fairly regular intervals of seconds to minutes".


They're still expecting a much-bigger eruption. It's not over.

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