Minimize Sulfur Spews from Taal

In January 2020, the Taal volcano in the Philippines spewed lava and emitted hazardous amounts of volcanic ash fall and gases.

The volcano awoke from 43 years of quiet and spewed lava and ash, filling streets and skies of the Philippine island of Luzon with fine ash fall and volcanic gases. The eruption caused tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes and forced the closure of several key roads, businesses, and an airport.

The volcano first unleashed a steam-driven explosion (known as a phreatic eruption) on 12 January. In the early morning of 13 January, eruptive activity increased and the volcano emitted a fountain of lava for about an hour and a half. According to the Philippine Seismic Network, 144 volcanic earthquakes have been recorded since 12 January, suggesting continuous magmatic activity underneath Taal and potentially more eruptive activity.

According to news reports, the eruption of Taal lofted ash up to 14 kilometres (9 miles) into the air. The eruption was accompanied by intense thunder and lightning above the summit. Winds carried volcanic ash north across Luzon.

The time-series animation shows the growth and spread of the volcanic plume from January 12-13, as observed by Japan's Himawari-8 satellite.

Taal is the second-most active volcano near Manila, which is located approximately 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of the volcano. In total, ten cities and municipalities surround Taal. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has ordered a "total evacuation" for people in high-risk areas within a 14-kilometre radius from the main crater, affecting around half a million people.

View the full resolution image.

Credit:NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using OMPS data from the Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC). Natural-color animation based on Himawari imagery, courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency .

12 - 13 January, 2019


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