Taal Volcano | John Seach


Batangas Province, Luzon, Philippines

14.002 N, 120.993 E
summit elevation 311 m

Taal volcano is located 60 km south of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Taal is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines and has produced some of its most powerful historical eruptions. Six of 25 known eruptions at Taal since 1572 have caused fatalities, many from tsunamis in the lake. An eruption of Taal in 1911 killed 1334 people and produced ash which reached Manila.

Taal volcano (5 km in diameter) is located in Taal Lake. The lake is one of the deepest in the Philippines (176 m deep) and is located about 2 m above sea level. The deepest part of the lake is located near the shore, which represents underwater cliffs. The lake was created from a coalescence of craters produced by explosive eruptions.

The volcanic cone contains a 2-km diameter lake, 90 m deep, which was formed by the 1911 eruption. Eruptions at Taal are mainly phreatic and phreatomagmatic. The volcano is noted for its base surges and volcanic tsunamis. Volcanic tsunamis were generated in previous eruptions in 1715, 1749, 1754, 1911, 1913, and 1965. Base surges are hurricane like clouds which spread radially from the base of an eruption column. Base surges are also seen in shallow underwater and underground nuclear explosions.

2020 eruption
A large eruption began at Taal volcano, Philippines on 12 January 2020. Ash emissions reached 55,000 ft altitude. Reports of ash falling at Alabang, 45 km north of the volcano and Manila metro. Flights were cancelled at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manilla due to ash. Taal volcano progressed to a magmatic eruption on 13 January 2020. On the evening of 13 January 500 m high lava fountains occurred at the volcano.

2012 Unrest
There was a large increase in seismic activity at Taal volcano on 22-23 November 2012. In a 24 hour period 60 earthquakes were measured at the volcano. Two of the earthquakes were felt by residents of Calauit and Pira-piraso. The second felt earthquake at 7:23 pm on 22 November was felt with an intensity of III, and was accompanied by a rumbling sound. The earthquakes were located mostly under the north-eastern side of the volcano island.

2011 Unrest
Taal volcano in the Philippines has been placed on level 2 alert in April 2011 due to an intrusion of Magma towards the surface. The temperature of the main crater lake has increased to 31.5 deg C. There has been a small inflation of the volcano. High levels of carbon dioxide have been released in the main crater and seismic activity is elevated. PHIVOLCS has advised the Main Crater, Daang Kastila Trail and Mt. Tabaro are closed to visitors due to the risk of explosion, and emission of toxic gas. 

2010 Unrest
Since 26th April 2010 volcanic earthquakes have increased. Between 11-24 May the temperature in the crater lake increased by 2-3 dec C. The composition of Main Crater Lake water has shown above normal values of Mg/Cl, SO4/Cl and Total Dissolved Solids. There has been ground steaming accompanied by hissing sounds on the northern and northeast sides of the main crater. PHIVOLCS has raised the status of the volcano to Alert Level 2, which indicates the volcano is undergoing magmatic intrusion which may lead to an eruption. The main crater has been placed off limits due to the risk of an eruption.

2008 Earthquakes
Seismic unrest was reported at Taal volcano in Philippines. On 28th August, 10 earthquakes were recorded at the volcano. Earthquakes were felt by residents of barangay Pira-piraso village, and accompanied by rumbling sounds. The earthquakes were located northeast of the volcano island near Daang Kastila. An exclusion zone has been placed around the crater. The northern portion of the Main Crater rim, near Daang Kastila Trail, may be hazardous.

2006 Earthquakes
An increase in seismicity was recorded at Taal Volcano in Philippines in November 2006. The earthquakes were accompanied by rumbling sounds. Geysers of muddy water 3-5 m high occurred in the NNE portion of the main crater. The main crater was placed off limits because of the possibility of explosions or gas emissions.

2004 Earthquakes
An increase in seismic activity was recorded at Taal volcano in the Philippines in November 2004, with 31 high frequency earthquakes in seven days. Epicenter locations were in the vicinity of Main Crater and to the NNW near Binintiang Malaki and to the SSE near Calauit. There was an increase in water temperature and acidity in the crater lake. Taal volcano has been placed on Alert level 1 (out of 5) which means that there is magmatic, tectonic or hydrothermal disturbance; but no eruption imminent.

1977 Eruption
Ash and steam were erupted on 9 November 1977.

1965 Eruption
A phreatomagmatic eruption of Taal volcano between 28-30 September 1965. The eruption covered an area of approximately 60 square kilometres with ash more than 25 cm thick. The 1965 eruption was the first since 1749 to be located on the flanks of the island. The eruption caused a base surge which caused loss of life and damage from the generated tsunami. The base surge was initiated by water entering the magma chamber. Ash clouds rose 20 km high during the eruption and ash fell 80 km away. Lapilli fell 9 km downwind from the explosion crater.

1911 Eruption
The eruption of Taal volcano in 1911 destroyed most life on the island and cause damage to the surrounding area. 1335 people were killed in the eruption.

Further reading
Waters, A.C. and Fisher, R.V., 1971. Base surges and their deposits: Capelinhos and Taal volcanoes. Journal of Geophysical Research76(23), pp.5596-5614.

Moore, J.G., Nakamura, K. and Alcaraz, A., 1966. The 1965 eruption of Taal volcano. Science151(3713), pp.955-960.

Pratt, W.E., 1911. The Eruption of Taal Volcano. Bulletin of the American Geographical Society43(12), pp.903-916.

Taal Volcano Eruptions

2020, 1977, 1976, 1970, 1969, 1968, 1967, 1966, 1965, 1911, 1904, 1903, 1885?, 1878, 1874, 1873, 1842, 1825, 1808, 1790, 1754, 1749, 1731, 1729, 1716, 1715, 1709, 1707, 1645, 1641, 1635, 1634, 1609, 1591, 1572.