We all know that the Philippines sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire. We have volcanoes for neighbors in our communities. The beautiful Mayon Volcano in Albay, with its world-famous perfect cone. Mt. Pinatubo,which exploded in 1991, the world’s largest explosion in living memory that caused global temperature to dip half a degree (celcius).
There’s another volcano that plays home to locals and tourists who seem oblivious to its status as an one of the world’s most dangerous active volcano. Just 55 kilometers south of Manila. It has erupted 30 times since the 16th century, accounting for the deaths of more than 5,000 people.
The crater lake on Volcano Island is the largest lake on an island in a lake on an island in the world.Moreover, this lake contains Vulcan Point, a small rocky island that projects from the surface of the crater lake, which was the remnant of the old crater floor that is now surrounded by the 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) wide lake, now referred to as the Main Crater Lake. Vulcan Point is often cited as the largest third-order island (island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island) in the world, though this is also claimed to be an unnamed Canadian island located within Victoria Island.
Vulcan Point Island is within Main Crater Lake, which is on Volcano Island, which is within Taal Lake, which is on the main Philippine Island, Luzon.
The Tagaytay Ridge, with its numerous establishments catering to travelers and tourists, offers a good view of Taal Volcano and the Taal Lake. Lakeshore towns, or those which border on Taal Lake, include Talisay, Tanauan, Agoncillo, Balete, San Nicolas and Laurel.
There were 33 historical eruptions, the last one in 1977. The Volcano Island is a permanent danger zone.
The government agency specifically tasked to keep an eye on volcanoes, the PHIVOLCS, declared a Alert Level 2 in June of 2010, which alert was downgraded to Level 1 in August. Based onPHIVOLCS information, the alert levels for Taal Volcano (Mayon Volcano has separate alert level descriptions) are as follows:
No alert (Normal)
Criteria: Background, quiet.
Interpretation: No eruption in foreseeable future.
Alert Level 1 (Abnormal)
Criteria: Low level seismicity, fumarolic, other activity.
Interpretation: Magmatic, tectonic or hydrothermal disturbance; no eruption imminent.
Alert Level 2 (Alarming)
Criteria: Low to moderate level of seismicity, persistence of local but unfelt earthquakes. Ground deformation measurements above baseline levels. Increased water and/or ground probe hole temperatures, increased bubbling at Crater Lake
Interpretation: A) Probable magmatic intrusion; could eventually lead to an eruption.
B) If trend shows further decline, volcano may soon go to level 1
Alert Level 3 (Critical)
Criteria: Relatively high unrest manifested by seismic swarms including increasing occurrence of low frequency earthquakes and/or harmonic tremor (some events felt). Sudden or increasing changes in temperature or bubbling activity or radon gas emission or Crater Lake pH. Bulging of the edifice and fissuring may accompany seismicity.
Interpretation: A) If trend is one of increasing unrest, eruption is possible within days to weeks.
B) If trend is one of decreasing unrest, volcano may soon go to level 2
Alert Level 4 (Eruption Imminent)
Criteria: Intense unrest, continuing seismic swarms, including harmonic tremor and/or “low frequency earthquakes” which are usually felt, profuse steaming along existing and perhaps new vents and fissures.
Interpretation: Hazardous explosive eruption is possible within days.
Alert Level 5 (Eruption)
Criteria: Base surges accompanied by eruption columns or lava fountaining or lava flows.
Interpretation: Hazardous eruption in progress. Extreme hazards to communities west of the volcano and ashfalls on downwind sectors.
Source: PHIVOLCS. See map and directions. Rate and review Taal Volcano and Taal Lake.