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No ash emission observed in Taal since Wednesday morning — Phivolcs

An aerial view shows the Taal volcano on January 17, 2020.

MANILA, Philippines — No ash emission was observed in Taal Volcano Wednesday but a major blast is still possible within hours to days, state volcanologists said.

In a 4 p.m. bulletin, Phivolcs said the volcano in Batangas has not emitted ash since Wednesday morning. This, after days of “weak” emissions of ash columns.

“However, unconsolidated ash blanketing Taal Volcano Island has been remobilized and transported by strong low-level winds toward southwest, affecting towns of Lemery and Agoncillo,” the agency said.

There were also reports from several airlines that remobilized volcanic ash reached a height of approximately 5,800 meters.

The United States Geological Survey said unconsolidated ash deposit is susceptible to wind erosion, transport and eventual deposition.

“This can be a severe problem in dry, windy areas,” USGS said.

Phivolcs earlier said there were weaker steam emissions, fewer volcanic earthquakes and lower sulfur dioxide emissions in the past few days but stressed that threat still persists.

Alert Level 4 remains in effect over Taal, which means a potentially catastrophic eruption is still imminent.

“DOST-Phivolcs strongly recommends total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and high-risk areas identified in the hazard maps within the 14-km radius from Taal main crater and along the Pansipit River Valley where fissuring has been observed,” the agency said.

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