Taal Volcano eruption

Druce Chandler, Writer


The Taal Volcano is a Caldera Volcano on Luzon Island, in Batangas province, Philippines which erupted on January 12, 2020. This isn’t the first time it has erupted, a great example is January 1911, a fan-shaped cloud spread, creating a blast downward, that forced hot steam and gases down the slope of the crater. Not only that, hot mud came down during the eruption, killing about fifteen-hundred people. While that is just one example of an eruption coming from Taal; according to rappler.com since 1572, there have been thirty-four recorded eruptions, making it the second most active volcano in the Philippines. Before the 2020 eruption, the volcano has been inactive since 1977. 

The Taal volcano started out as a massive plume of ash and steam. It escalated into red-hot lava being pushed out of the crater, according to various sources. It was enough that the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised the alert level for Taal Volcano to Level 4 from Level 1. This is a warning that a larger explosion could occur. On the other hand, the death total is currently at three people, through indirect methods. While the death toll may be extremely low, the number of evacuees/displaced people were different. As the authorities had to order a total evacuation of people in an 8.7-mile radius; ranging from thirteen-thousand evacuees and twenty-five thousand villagers being displaced according to National Public Radio. Despite the evacuations being carried out, one indirect thing that came out of the volcanic eruption is about five-hundred flights were canceled according to Usatoday. 

Sadly the eruption had a toll on houses and the people. For instance, CNN mentions that when ash mixes with rain, it creates a thick black sludge that covers everything in its path. If the rain and ash mix way too much, it will be able to destroy roofs of houses that can collapse homes. Although the volcano alert level is lowered, if it were to erupt again, it could cause microscopic pieces of glass to contaminate water and air, which Joseph Michalski, director of the Earth and Planetary Science division at the University of Hong Kong said, “If those pieces of microscopic glass get stuck in your lungs it can make you ill.” The volcanic eruption could have an impact on tourism, as tourism makes up about 12.7 % of their economy according to psa.gov.

As of now, the alert level is lowered to three, which means residents of the Batangas Province can go back, but volcanic activity will still be closely monitored. However, the damage isn’t done yet. For the agricultural damage, it ranges up to about three billion dollars according to The Philippine Department of Agriculture. The Taal eruption has affected about 15970 hectares of land (about 39462 acres of land). There have been relief efforts to help the citizens. The Red Cross opened numerous evacuations and have deployed thousands of disaster workers in the area. Lastly, if you’re willing to assist in helping with the recovery of the Taal volcano eruption, you can help at Children’s Emergency Fund, which provides lifesaving aid to children and families not just in the Philippines, but around the world.

Picture from Charles Salazar from Rappler.com