KEY POINTS

  • Taal volcano in the Philippines erupted on Jan. 12, 2020
  • Satellite imagery from Himawari-8 shows the sudden burst from Luzon, Philippines
  • Taal volcano is one of the smallest volcanoes in the world, but is a very active one

Satellite imagery from the Himawari-8 IR satellite captured the Taal volcano eruption in the Philippines. In the short video, the island of Luzon can be seen quite calm until a sudden burst spewed from the south of the island. Although the video lasts for just 12 seconds, it captures how quickly things escalated for the Taal volcano.

The Himawari-8 IR satellite is the eighth Himawari geostationary weather satellite operated by the Japan Meteorological Society. Constructed by Mitsubishi Electric in coordination with Boeing, Himawari-8 began its 8-year operational service in 2015.

Taal Volcano Eruption

The Taal volcano showed an increase in volcanic activity in the afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 12. By 4 p.m., authorities were prompted to raise the Alert level to 3 due to volcanic tremors and earthquakes felt in the volcano island and in nearby municipalities. Just hours later, even parts of Metro Manila were experiencing significant ashfall and the alert level was raised to 4, which means that a hazardous eruption is imminent within hours or days.

As a result, thousands of residents near Taal volcano were evacuated, and school and government offices in Metro Manila were canceled. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS-DOST), Taal spewed a “weak” lava fountain for about an hour and a half between 2:49 a.m. to 4:28 a.m.on Jan.13. But, it should not cause increased concern because it does not necessarily mean that Taal has reached the “hazardous explosive eruption” phase.

As of the writing of this article, over 3,000 families or over 16,500 individuals have been evacuated from their homes.

Taal Volcano

Taal Volcano is one of the smallest volcanoes in the world and the second most active volcano in the Philippines. Taal has erupted about 34 times since 1572, the last of which before the current eruption being in 1977. One of its more violent eruptions was in 1911 when there were 1,335 recorded casualties of the incident.

The Philippines is also the home of the second-largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century when Mount Pinatubo erupted on July 15, 1991. During the eruption, volcanic ash fell as far as the Indian Ocean and satellites tracked the ash cloud several times across the globe.

Philippine authorities have raised an alert for a possible 'explosive eruption' of the Taal volcano near Manila Philippine authorities have raised an alert for a possible 'explosive eruption' of the Taal volcano near Manila Photo: AFP / Ted ALJIBE