Taal Alert level raised to 3 after phreatomagmatic unrest

For those who have been keeping an eye on any events at Taal in the Philippines, the current unrest won’t come as a surprise. Over the past few months the volcano has become progressively more restless and after the huge emission of SO2 on the 28th, there were several phreatomagmatic events on Thursday, July 1st. The alarm level has been elevated to 3 as of the same day, and forced evacuations of villages within the 7 km zone have begun.

On Twitter people tell they felt earthquakes that lasted a minute or more. At 3:16 PM a short phreatomagmatic eruption happened, and during the day there were 4 more small bursts (the total count for Thursday is 5). After that the volcano went back to a semi-sleeping state. But this might change any minute or in a few weeks.

The Crown within the Lake- Taal Erupting, 14 January 2020

The Crown within the Lake – Taal Eruption, 14 January 2020 by Michael Angelo Luna Creative Commons.

After Taal erupted in January 2020, it was clear that this was not the end of the activity yet. We expected this eruption would lead to more frequent activity on Taal Island over the next years to decades. For the rest of 2020 the volcano stayed mostly quiet, while the world was focusing on battling a virus outbreak. But earlier this year things slowly changed and Taal woke up from her light sleep. There have been episodes with volcanic earthquakes and low-frequency events for many months now, a clear indication that magma is on the move beneath the Taal edifice. Steam-laden plumes grew increasingly higher, from a few meters to a kilometer or more in the past few weeks. Since 9:05 AM on 08 April 2021, the start of background tremor was added to the list, and this has persisted until now. There were steam and muddy emissions from fumarolic vents, and the amounts of emitted SO2 have gradually gone up.

Taal SO2 emissions June 2021

Taal sulphur dioxide emissions, June 2021. On June 2-3 no measurements took place due to bad weather.  Image courtesy: Jøhñ

On June 10, Taal released 9,911 tonnes of sulfur dioxide. That day it rained and people on Twitter mentioned that they saw their vegetable gardens, trees and grass turn brown before their eyes. On the 28th of June, the emissions averaged an insane 14,326 tonnes of sulfur dioxide (SO2), the highest daily amount ever measured on Taal. In the days after, resp. 8,982 tonnes/day on 29 June 2021 and 6,685 tonnes/day on June 30 were measured. Steam plumes went up to 2500 meter on these days.

But yesterday, suddenly a dark phreatomagmatic plume rose up that was a kilometre tall. Phivolcs warned of a magmatic intrusion at the main crater of Taal and that more of these events should be expected in the next hours and days. The plume went back to steamy after the phreatomagmatic events and reached 3000 m. Again, a huge amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) was measured that averaged 13,287 tonnes/day, which created a heavy blanket of vog around Lake Taal. People around the lake were told to be ready to evacuate.

The 14 tons sulphur dioxide cloud seen from space by Sentinel -5P/TROPOMI on June 29, 2021.

The 14,326 tonnes of sulfur dioxide of the 29th of June is an enormous amount, and cannot be understood differently than that there is a large amount of fresh magma rising up. It resulted in a thick layer of vog that stretched out over large parts of Luzon, including the metropole of Manilla. To give a comparison, Pinatubo emitted a SO2 cloud of over 13,000 tonnes on June 10, 1991, just 5 days prior to the climactic eruption that would shoot ash 34 km (21 miles) straight up into the sky – in spite of a raging typhoon that ravaged the islands at the same time. The action at Pinatubo had started on April 2 with a series of phreatic explosions. The first magmatic eruptions took place on June 3. Prior to the big boom, Pinatubo erupted several times.

Because in 1991 the Philippine government needed to convince the people living around the volcano to evacuate, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology collaborated with USGS to create a plan to get everybody out in an orderly way.  Thankfully it worked – and many thousands of lives were saved. The currently used five stages of volcanic alert that Phivolcs and the Philippine government use, were defined in the run-up to the Pinatubo eruption, and have been used ever since for all of the Philippine volcanoes. The Alert level for Taal was raised to level 3 on July 1, 2021, meaning that magmatic unrest had been detected at the main crater.


But comparing Pinatubo with Taal is, of course, comparing apples with durians. Taal is a different kind of volcano. Taal lays on top of a graben, has a large hydrothermal reservoir beneath its edifice and is completely surrounded by water. Therefore  degassing happens on a much larger scale once magma is on the move and comes close to the surface in Taal, where it interacts with water. And once that happens, the white, steam driven plumes soon changed to dark columns, a clear sign that the style has changed to phreatomagmatic where ash becomes a component in play.

White steam plume

White steam plume seen in Taal’s crater on May 22, 2021

The first one of the series of phreatomagmatic eruptions that happened on July 1, was shared by Phivolcs. Besides a lot of steam and ash, there was a small pyroclastic flow.

Meanwhile, the first evacuations are underway. The Philippine Civil Defense and rescue organizations have started to evacuate Laurel and Agoncilo, villages on the west side of Lake Taal where about 15,000 people live. They are first in line for events like ash-fall, shock waves, earthquakes, a base surge and even tsunamis that can be generated by a violent eruption, a volcanic earthquake or even rock fall. Taal can throw out some serious boulders that are hot and can land well away from the main crater on the shores of the lake.

In 2020 these villages were also the first to be evacuated. More villages followed later as the danger zone was widened. The authorities did a very good job again. Eventually there were only 39 casualties, mainly people who refused to leave the area.

Places around Taal where not to be during an eruption

The best advise for any eruption, is usually, not be there! Unless it is of course Fagradalsfjall, which is pretty safe because it only erupts lava flows. Lava flows is about the only trick in the Volcanic Manual that Taal doesn’t do so well. Taal’s eruptive style is mainly ash and tephra. Any rare lava fountains would not directly endanger villages because they stay on the island. But Taal is quite well capable of all the other tricks in the book, as we know from the witness accounts of previous eruptions. So let’s have a look at some of them and why they are particularly dangerous for anyone living near Lake Taal. We are here looking at a worst case, i.e. the largest kind of eruption we have seen in historical time. This is what we know it can do – not necessarily what it will do.

Base Surge

Base Surge Danger Zone

These are the areas most in danger if a base surge would happen. The projection is based on the events that took place during the eruption in 1754. Image courtesy: Phivolcs.

A base surge is somewhat similar to a pyroclastic flow, but has less rock fragments and more super heated gas in it. Base flows are typically generated by the interaction of hot magma and water that gets super heated and expands dramatically in size when transformed into gas. This creates a shock wave. Because that shock wave travels over water and has very little resistance, it moves incredibly fast and has enough momentum to rise up over the edges of the lake and even the crater walls, except perhaps Tagaytay Ridge in the north which is the high ridge on which Tagaytay City is located.  Base surges are considered the most dangerous possible volcanic side-effects of a Taal eruption: they are simply too hot and too fast to escape.

Volcanic Tsunami and Flooding

These are the areas around Lake Taal that are most in danger for a tsunami caused by a violent eruption or volcanic earthquake. Image courtesy: Phivolcs.

Volcanic tsunamis on Lake Taal can be generated in several ways. A volcanic earthquake may set it off, large ejecta that fall in the lake, when a chip of the crater wall that surrounds the lake breaks off, and of course if a violent eruption starts. Again, the villages close to the lake are most in danger, and the area to the south west that lays lower and has a sedimental character and may flood. On the image above you see that even an opening to the sea may be created. This is where the former Taa-lan River was located, broad enough for sailing ships to enter Lake Taal. During the 1754 eruption it was blocked by eruptive materials. A new small river river would form later, Pansit River, which still exists. After 1754 the water level in Lake Taal became higher and the lake went from a salt water basin to freshwater. A strong enough tsunami might open up a broader channel once more.

In 1754, Father Buencuchillo wrote down his eye-witness account. It was re-published in 1912 in The National Geographic Magazine, Vol. XXIII, Nº 4: “At 7 in the evening of November 28 occurred a new paroxysm, during which the volcano vomited forth such masses of fire and ejecta that in my opinion all the material ejected during so many months, if taken together, would not equal the quantity which issued at the time. The columns of fire and smoke ascended higher than ever before, increasing every moment in volume and setting fire to the whole island, there being not the smallest portion of the latter ‘ which was not covered by the smoke and the glowing rocks and ashes. All this was accompanied by terrific lightning and thunder above and violent shocks of earthquakes underneath. The cloud of ejecta, carried on by the wind, extended itself toward west and south, with the result that we saw already some stones fall close to our shore. I therefore shouted to all those who were still in the town to take to flight, and we all ran off in a hurry; otherwise we would have been engulfed on the spot, as the waves of the angry lake began already to flood the houses nearest to the beach.”

Ejecta and Huge Boulders

Area where hot boulders and heavy ejecta may fall during an eruption. Image courtesy: Phivolcs

Again, the villages closest to the volcano, like Agoncilo and Laurel are in the front seat for another threat: falling stones and ‘huge boulders’. Most of these will fall on the island and into the lake, but it cannot be ruled out that large chunks of rock will fall on villages close to the lake. Again, it is best to be further inland when a large volcanic explosion takes place.

Volcanic boulder 1911 eruption

One of the huge boulders from the 1911 eruption of Taal. Source: The National Geographic Magazine, Vol. XXIII Nº4, 1912.

Taal eruptions usually come with a large earthquakes. Other dangers for low lying areas around the lake are subsidence and a complete reshaping of the coast line. In 1749, a lower lying area, known as Tierra Destruída, sank into the lake after 2 huge volcanic quakes happened. “During these terrible convulsions of the earth fissures opened in the ground amid horrifying roars, said fissures extending from the northern and north-eastern beach of the lake as far as the neighborhood of the town of Calamba. Here, as well as elsewhere, the whole shore of Lake Bombon has been disturbed” [NG, Vol. XXIII, Nº 4, 1912].

And that brings us to another danger: fissures. During the 2020 eruption we saw pictures of fissures appearing in the villages outside the lake. No need to say that these can destroy houses, roads, and break gas and electricity lines. They also happened in earlier eruptions.

Fissures Taal eruption 1911

Large fissures sprung up in the ground during the 1911 Taal eruption. The church in the background was the only building that survived mostly intact.

Other dangers are ash fall, lahars, and of course the noxious gases that are emitted by erupting volcanoes. Sulphur dioxide can burn your lungs, eyes and skin, and when it mixes with rain in the atmosphere, it becomes sulphurous acid, H2SO3, also known as acid rain, which kills plants and is not drinkable.

As before, we can only advise anyone near Taal to follow the advice of Phivolc and to evacuate when told to do so.The Philippine authorities have done great jobs with the evacuation of Pinatubo and Taal in 2020. Phivolcs does a great job monitoring the events and although we cannot see what the measurements of Taal show, we can trust them to take the right decisions when it comes to evacuations. If Taal were to erupt, it is best to follow their and Lurking’s advice: do not be there!

The National Geographic Magazine, Vol. XXIII Nº4, 1912

Rappler has a live blog with the latest Taal updates: https://www.rappler.com/nation/updates-taal-volcano-unrest-eruption-2021

Some live videos of Taal:

On Youtube:

Volcanoverse (various volcanoes in one): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeoRx59dZkc

Marlon Abuyo TV (Phillipine, Marlon does drone overflies too): https://youtu.be/bVQINH0qtcU

Meditation & Relaxation (livestreams from Tagaytay; check for the latest): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiHhbYyc3OygMA5n6f_b7-Q

Kaetami (Livestream from Lipa): https://youtu.be/zPX54q2nIRE

MADAM RUTSA: https://youtu.be/SN5GDUc64vQ

GMA News (Philippino news station that has a great playlist with all the latest news; they also have livestreams on Taal set up during the day): https://youtu.be/H_W7JlzmRq0

On Facebook:

CCTV Solutions: https://fb.watch/6vyZ4bxchV/

LASAC: https://fb.watch/6vyTgotBBi/


Volcanoes in the Mist

331 thoughts on “Taal Alert level raised to 3 after phreatomagmatic unrest

  1. Hmm who’s going to give us CV loseups now that astrograph is home and our hero GutnTog is on vacation. (On Sicily no less, let’s hope for some Etna clips.)

    • Think Gutn Tog has earned a holiday: 27 excursions to Fagradalsfjall when I last looked.

      • I find it quite suspicious that GutnTog chose sicily as a vacation spot, with etna being very active now – maybe we will get some etna coverage?

    • There is a vast amount to see in sicily. Greek temple complexes, roman temple complexes, syracuse, spectacular roman mosaics, spectacular byzantine mosaics from the norman times, etna, syracuse, sea, sand, food, wine, hilltop towns, prehistoric dolmens, palaeolithica to neolithic (many raugsa/syracuse), just a vast amount.
      I did mention the wine and food, didn’t I?

      • And then, well, there is Corleone. Did you know that many tourists go there although the movie was mostly made elsewhere? I wonder whether you happen to know “Sicily” by John Julius Norwich. I can recommend it. Lots of history.

        • Mannaggia!!” Just-a watched Don Ciccio get what Vito brought for him for the umpteenth time this afternoon.

  2. There are orange pulses in the crater, looks like the lava is back

    • The faf tremor plot is also sparking back to life, so those two things concur

    • Lava, lava, lava, lava, lava

      * cue “Born Slippy” by Underworld*

  3. I am of the opinion that if the lava does not drain from the caldera lake, we might soon see the gradual end of this eruption. Perhaps the lava lake will gradually die down and freeze over, but then we have the chance of new fissures or possibly a small Hawaiian type spattering eruption from the cone. I certainly don’t anticipate any Stromboian type of eruption if the lava crust is solidly frozen on the lake.
    Time will tell, but one thing is obvious, the eruption has gradually been running out of steam (and other volcanic gases)
    PS I would love to be proved wrong

  4. July 3rd Drone footage Natthagi to the vent ..
    Lots of detail of the lava field including portals to lava tubes ..

    • Fully convecting lava lake. It’s rising at the left-of-center point where many cracks converge and sinking in the bright area at upper right.

      Remarkable. The more so for repeatedly coming and going on much shorter timescales than Nyiragongo’s.

    • Will the walls of this cone collapse by the weight of the lava lake exerting onto the walls?

      • Probably not but having episodes of high lava levels followed by rapid withdrawal is not good for their stability. The crater has changed a lot but has not collapsed. One side is very steep, one side is quite shallow. The outflow goes to the shallow, high side. Any collapse wold probably mean that the lava will flow down the steep side, for our camera views that is the backside. The original cone threatened to do the same back in March but never did. The seismograph have been in the active state for the past 12 hours. The lava lake is boiling away and lava is flowing, but we don’t know where. Most seems to end up in Meradalir. It no longer reaches the furthest points of the lava flows but that may change again. A shield is forming around the cone, but also around the entry points of the lava in Meradalir and Natthagi.

    • Amazing video! But do they have a system in place to avoid collisions between drones and helicopters?

      Many of the videos that youtube suggests show some drone flying that would not be allowed in most jurisdictions. Not sure about Iceland though.
      (Even astrograph’s looked quite doubtful in this regard, as amazing as they are) The guy in the video above however was even flying almost overhead a (parked) helicopter, with the drone way out of sight. It is a bit unclear how to guarantee reasonable safety in such an environment. Even-numbered hours for drones, odd-numbered hours for helicopters or something like that?

      • Drone flights above the craters were prohibited for a time, but as far as I know, they are allowed currently (below 120AGL).

        I was concerned about the helicopters and airplanes, and waited for a quiet time to fly the drones. It helps, that the helicopters come in packs, usually (the same) 3-4 at once. I think the collision danger is quite real, as there are many drones in the air any given time. But I would assume the collision damage between the other aircraft is also very real, the flying by thelicopter pilots is also quite erratic and wild, at one point I photographed one (not with a drone) coming up in my direction from the lava field below.

        The area is also a drone graveyard, on the last evening at lease 3 drones were lost in the vicinity of my position.

        My own drone got toasted a bit while flying over the lava stream heading down in to Meradalir, and it automatically initiated “return to home” caused by high CPU temperature:

        I found it also interesting, that apparently the aircraft had no ADS-B as the Air 2s would have sensed them.

        • On my visit, there were no restrictions on flying drones (or at least none that I was notified about)

          I was a little concerned about the possibility of drones colliding, but they have collision avoidance. There were probably at least 4 or 5 flying around the crater at any given time.

          Common sense should be in force with Helicopters, ie drop height if you see them flying the same space and avoid the areas they were landing.

        • Well, the difference is that the aircraft have a decent chance of seeing each other; whereas it is essentially impossible to see a drone from an aircraft until it is too late, as far as I know.
          Also, the aircraft and helicopters are usually going to be on a common frequency in a place like this and talk to each other, so they are typically aware of what the others are doing. But, yes, they do operate quite closely there.

          I am sure most of the helos have ADS-B, I know I saw them on one of these tracking sites, trying to find out whether they come from Reykjavik or also make local flights (that would be fun, shuttling people to and from the spectator hill). Small aircraft probably don’t usually have it in Iceland… Not much traffic.

          Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if the first documented drone-aircraft collision will happen there…

  5. The lava is draining from crater as Meradalir is getting fresh cover on top of the old layers now. Let’s hope the clouds / fog stays away and we watch the spectacle…

    • There was a good lava flood in meradalir until fog came.
      Now crater lava raised and its going out.

      • It’s getting a nicely curved dome shape, both the cone and the cascade/lava fan. I assume that, if it continues long enough, the fan will build up enough to become part of the cone itself.

  6. Taal live stream, it is steaming, certainly more than yesterday.

  7. Etna went off again (have to scroll back several hours until day)

  8. Quite a few of you predicted a surge around midnight, which led me to record for a timelapse.
    It happened around 3h30, but I like the slow buildup.
    From the Vísir camera between 21h and 07h30 this morning


    Hopefully Vísir does not complain.

    • Lovely to see you in VC again. Great time-lapse, as always. I love watching how the tentacles or roots seek the way downwards. And interesting to see the Channel pond is still there, filled and then overflowing middle right. If you hadn’t made this, then I’d have missed all the lava going to the east; by the time I looked, there was a bit heading west before dropping out of view behind the fan/shield.

    • Part way through I smelled sulphur, I swear.
      Good for all of us who sleep at night! Many thanks.

    • I surmise that the effluent comes over the top when the tube system is loaded, backs up, and cannot handle the rate.

  9. Hello. Has the fountaining and general kerfuffle in the crater moved more towards the outflow area from where it was in the crater before? Or is this just a change in perspective with cameras changing and zooming in and out?
    Apologies if this has been brought up before but haven’t had chance to go back through all the recent posts yet..

    • and people think I exaggerate when I suggest suggesting it may go more quickly than we think.

    • Lol – I regard the Independant with the same disdain as the DM and Express – loves its scare stories.

      Haven’t had a look at the temp there but its interesting regarding the NW US/Canada Heatwave, that Cliff Mass, the Meteorologist from there (who very much subscribes to the AGW hypothesis) argues that the high temp conditions aren’t necessarily an indicator of global warming.


      Just saying like.

      • He does not argue anything yet – it will be revealed later.. In general, you should not confuse weather and climate. Global heating makes some weather events more likely. That includes high latitude heat waves. Siberia has now had record breaking heatwaves two summers in a row, Alaska now has fires that overwinter, even Antarctica has broken its high temperature record. But for single events you can only talk in probabilities. Since lockdown was eased, I noticed a number of extremely aggressive drivers on the road, much more than before. They see their (expensive) cars not as tools but as weapons, i think. You can’t blame a single collision on a general decrease in driving ability. But I do expect my insurance premiums to increase next year.

        • Interesting car analogy Albert.
          Crazy drivers here on the South Coast too at the moment.

        • True – Albert – its an awaiting blog entry from Cliff.
          But he has argued the case before with other weather events (including the severe cold in Texas).

          I do like your analogy.

        • I need not differentiate between climate and weather to this august body. Thus far, the long term data doesn’t support the hysteria. Nor do we have consensus. Nor has volcanism given up. Until then, refrain from hanging the lantern in the Old North Church.

          • I am afraid that major global warming is now inevitable. The evidence is all around us and there is global consensus on the cause. It would take a major volcano – more than a Pinatubo – even to bring the climate back to 1980, and it would only do so for one year. We can not attribute any single event to it, but that does not mean it is not real. We can still limit the amount of heating to no more than twice what we have so far, and we should do so. We can’t prevent between 50cm and 1 meter of sea level rise, so have to adjust to that. If we do nothing – last time CO2 levels were this high, sea level was 20 meters higher than now. I just mention it. There are some unproven predictions around, but there is doubt that our children will live in a very different world to ours. How different is still in our hands.

          • 1980 was hotter, at least where I was, but not as hot as 1976 and 1977.

          • @ Merlot in southern England, 1976 was the long-term scorcher with ladybird swarms and standpipes in the street. 1975 was a shorter, sharper heatwave and I remember roasting in class, waiting for the last bell to release us from purgatory of double maths.
            1980 was memorable for other reasons of the heart; I don’t recall the weather much!

          • I wonder about the CO2 level of Pangeae, end of Perm, beginning Triassic. The temperatures were high in the centre, the sea level was low though.

          • Perm-Trias marks the greatest mass extinction of all time, probable cause: continental flood basalts in siberia pushing through layers of coal, up to 95% of species (!!!) perished, CO2 levels were more slowly rising than now.

            CO2 levels have been higher, and temperatures have been warmer in the past. The ecosphere managed to survive 5 major mass extinctions, single species more often not.

            The last time CO2 was as high as now, the sea level was 20m higher…

            talk to a palenontologist, meteorologist, planetary scientist or best of all to a person from Munich Re or one of the other insurance companies which insure other insurance companies and listen to them, wishful thinking will not help…

            Yes there have been heat waves and cold spells in the past, nobody disputes that, climate scientists have been predicting that the frequency and intensity of such events will increase, and they do.

          • In 1976 our lawn was completely burnt (Westfalia). 1994 wasn’t bad either. I was in England, pregnant, and my legs swell. We forgot our things in the hotel safe and realized in Oxford, had to go back all the way in a car that wasn’t climatized. Terrible. We fled to Cornwall and Devon, same thing, so we fled to Britanny, same thing. Later in the summer I remember us seeing a concert in Salzburg, same thing. It went on for two months. The next was 2003 and then 2006. Since then these periods seem to have become shorter and more restricted to one area (Jet stream?)

          • I don’t know about the UK, but in the Netherlands three summers have since been warmer than 1976: 1995, 2006, 2018. 1994 and 2020 were not far behind. 1976 was exceptional at the time. it is still uncommon but now we see summer heat like this once a decade. That is with one proviso: local night time temperatures have increased (because of the warmer sea), so a summer can be warmer without always appearing to be so.

        • Waiting patiently for the day which will see the motoring braindead pursue their love of driving 20+ miles in excess of the posted speed, lane diving to avoid delays, in an electric vehicle with a range of 400 miles, that will recharge in 10 minutes, and whose source of electricity is generated by a technology that doesn’t taint the atmosphere with tons of CO2 or who knows what else.

          • That already exists in some places, except for 10 min charge time (not impossible but impractical and dangerous with the batteries readily available)

          • Hence, the battery technology has not yet risen to the occasion. Where on the planet is electricity being generated efficiently and sufficiently using green energy such that it satisfies the conditions I put in the comment you responded to. It very well maybe that humankind will be obliged to conduct itself at a slower, more leisurely pace if technology cannot match the energy available with fossil fuels to the task they are put with a carbon clean resource that also does not challenge the environment. Nuclear, unfortunately, as I see it, is not in the race. The Japan disaster and NIMBY attitudes of where one sites a reactor, or ‘dumps’ spent fuel that is potentially fatal for centuries are the drawbacks.

          • I cant speak personally for everyone but where I live all electricity is renewable, excepting for off grid generators but even those are not everywhere and none commercial. Granted the rest of Australia more than compensates in the wrong way… The awareness exists it is just slow going.

            My comment on batteries is that the chemistry and design is actually capable of rapid charge, but the way they are manufactured leads to high internal resistance so practically it is not possible to charge them without active cooling at that rate or at all really. Tesla 4680 cells could probably achieve this though, with future itterations, as their manufacturing process and design leads to much lower resistance. Those are currently supply restricted however

          • Yes. Sadly there is little doubt that very few places in the world will meet you criteria even in 20 years time. Talk is cheap but the effort and ‘sacrificies’ needed will make this largely a pipe dream.
            Pity really. Nobody even has a viable, costed achievable plan they dare make public.

          • Agree! Therefore all the ‘Green New Deal’ yada yada is no more than political clap trap intended to assure the future of the ruling class much to the detriment of the ‘prolatelectorate’ Kool Aid imbibers whom they have absolute contempt for and herd like lambs to the slaughter.

          • I am more optimistic, but my reasons for being that way you have already disagreed with.

            Key thing is most things are driven by profit. If electric vehicles are cheeper than petrol cars then it will change rapidly, far more so than any prediction can make now because those predictions all assume continued use and a gradual transition, where often things dont go so smoothly. For Tesla at least, a battery cost of $100 kWh is what is required to break even on manufacturing costs to an ICE vehicle of the same specs, and that number has now been broken, it is currently around $93. That might not result in more EVs as those still have to actually be made and currently supply is constrained and far too small, but if it is too expensive to use an ICE car it will result in a dramatic reduction in the amount of petrol being used, and in a not too unlikely scenario its use will become uneconomical altogether. That is really what we need.

            There are obviously a lot of variables, and not every result of that situation is a positive one either, but the result is a disaster if we do nothing.

          • It may be a consequence of my personal economic situation but the only individuals I see driving Tesla EV’s are those who can afford them. Very few in number of the other auto makers. My son, a physician, has just turned his first Tesla over our new drive grandson and has leased a current model. My neighbor, a retired dentist, has done the same to his son, and has a newer model. But the total number of EV’s in my affluent community are less than a handful and all Tesla. In my son’s family, the EV’s are for local transportation only. The long haul road trips are in a ICE SUV. The amount of time necessary for an ‘electric stop’ is prohibitive unless society adjusts to living at half speed going forward. Perhaps hybrids are a better option with more reliance on EV at higher speeds. It would reduce the consumption of petrol and the emissions. However, even those are costly.

          • Yes, it is definitely an expensive life style choice at the moment. I am happy with people going electric but can’t afford to do so myself! Prices need to come down. It is also true that electric driving is currently for cities, not for long distance. The story on hybrids is mixed. Some hybrids reportedly have worse mileage than the petrol ones they supposedly replace. I expect that our next car will still be petrol, but the one after that electric. I should also mention that I take the train to work, and our government has decreed that our trains will remain diesel ones, and they have canceled the electrification of the local trains. This is the same government that wants to stop diesel cars. Different departments – different policies: it is a common sign of a weak government

          • I am optimistic. It can be done and we are going in the right direction albeit too slow. But it won’t be easy and it will mean life style changes. We managed to safe the ozone layer, against all the efforts of the industry to keep doing what they were doing. We did it with smoking – how many companies denied it was dangerous? America will do it with opioids. Fixing the climate is harder than those things but it is possible – and we don’t have to back to the climate of the 1900’s: we will avoid catastrophe if we stay somewhere around the current level. That is a big help. We are certainly not on the best trajectory – farmeroz is right on that. But we are also not on the worst one anymore.

          • Most hybrids use more fuel and have higher CO2 emiisions than my diesel car. Few can match my 56-58 mpg and 98g CO2. I fail to see the point of the so-called mild hybrids, all they seem to achieve is a higher power output for a smaller engine. The standard hybrids are little better. The only ones that give a better fuel economy are the plug-in hyrbids, but even they only have something like a 45 mile range on full electric power. The best full electric, in terms of range, are approaching 300 miles, but still not enough for long journeys.
            In the UK, petrol cars are typically in the range of £15-25,000 (except luxury models), compared with £30,000+ for PHEV and £40,000 for full electric.

          • Tesla Model S long range is 400 miles, and while expensive is not ridiculously so. Some pedantic measurements might find slightly lower numbers but I also doubt most ICE cars get their stated range in practice either.

            All goes back to my other comment, if its too expebsive gas stations will become a rarity, then it will be ICE cars with both range anxiety and long refill times (long waiting). I think most fail to realise gas stations exist because it is someones job to put fuel in them, once that job is non profitable it will go, literally overnight. The logistics of the oil economy is a nightmare, its one of those things the far future will think we are idiots over, the same way we look at the use of lead in food products in the Roman or bronze age times, or the use of tobacco more recently. There are more useful things to do with all that carbon and we decide to just burn it to make energy when the sun gives us a kilowatt a square meter reliably for hours a day everywhere, for free…

          • An interesting read. His bottom line: this was a singular event, made a bit worse by global warming but it would have been a unicum without such warming as well. But I don’t fully agree: he is going off into the other extreme. For instance, the plot of maximum temperature over time clearly shows an increase after 2006, in spite of him saying the opposite. Weather is not a gaussian system. Temperatures do not vary randomly but depend on atmospheric patterns, which move fairly slowly. Coastal regions also depend more on the oceans which behave differently from the atmosphere, something he ignores. If a pattern changes due to global warming, for instance a high pressure region shifts north a bit, regions affect by such a change will see a much larger change. So you look for where such heat waves have occured in the past. They are a feature of the US southwest, but how far north did they get? If that is now a little further north, then the region just where they now come for the first time will see a massive heat wave that did not happen before. That is the question that needs to be answered: is this event part of that pattern? He doesn’t address that.

            Below is a plot of warming per decade over the past 30 years (multiply the numbers by 3 to get the full change). You can see that some areas are affected much worse than others. That is the change in weather and oceanic patterns. The Pacific northwest has escaped so far. It is located between regions of somewhat larger warming both to the north and to the south. That already suggests it has become vulnerable to larger fluctuations as the contrast with warmth to the south has increased. A similar change has been seen in Europe where regions suddenly saw 40C, 1 or 2 decades before this was expected to happen. The chance of such an event occuring has increased.

            Bottom line: this was a chance event, but global warming did not just add 1C to the heat. It made the event more likely to happen. We need to wait another decade to see whether this remains just weather or becomes climate.

          • Liking the fact that the two replies to this don’t allow replies.
            Not surprised at Gavin’s Twitter response – for a scientist he is remarkably inflexible in his views. 🙂

          • Isn’t it strange that it is all around the Pacific ocean, Siberia, Alaska, Washington State, BC, Oregon, Nea Zealand? Any explanation at all?

          • I’d say, John, that this is a brillant meteorological study. He (Cliff) explains perfectly why a slow process of global warming has little to do with weather extremes, and he has a graph in there showing that the last decade had fewer days with temperatures over 99°F than 1971 to 1980 which we all remember for 1976.

            “Science” journalists today are political, best seen in the often factless scaremongering surrounding Covid.

    • Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere is skyrocketing compared to what it was before Industrial revolution started going .. and really been going up since Second Industrial Revolution ..

      This is because of humans! 👍

      Volcanic activity is far too sluggish today for that

    • Make the most of it. Apparently it was like this before the onset of an ice-age at the end of the Eocene.

  10. beg to differ…but there is much long term data to support the contention that the global climate’s rate of change is unprecedented.
    There is no competing theory (or lack of) that has been able to explain the ancient ice loss that we are seeing before our eyes. That permafrost that survived the last major peak following the last glacial period 10,000ya is testament that many areas have not experienced such prolonger warming in 10’s of milenia.
    Species are disappearing now at an mass-extinction level… the same species that survived/evolved over millions of years and through countless climate disruptions. Since “natural forcing” did not cause species exstinctions like they are now, then what is different?
    Answer: Homostultus.

    • Note: I meant to say that ancient permafrost that is now melting had survived for millenia.
      Sorry fer the major typo…kinda ruined the whole intent of the comment.

    • Although the lake is boiling beautifully, there are no overflows, where is all the lava going ???

      The camera’s are not showing this, I feel like I need to go back and fly my drone to find out

      • It’s all going down the tubes…
        Philosophical reply, literal response and musings all in one

        • it’s going down the tubes ….. but where are they going ?

          If it was to stop now, that cave system would be awesome to explore when it cooled enough

          • But to answer your question – right now there is massive influx into the western part of Meradalir valley.
            That little hill in the front has completely disappeard yesterday, as well, so it is only something like 3-4 meters from overflowing out of the Meradalir east exit.

            Unfortunately astrograph did not take photos of the situation at that exit when he was there. I think they should put one of the webcams there now. It’s where the action will be for a while…

          • Would take a few years to go inside safely I think, its a thick lava field. But it will stop glowing in maybe a few weeks at most based on observations of tubes in Hawaii.

          • There are plenty of old ones around, I expect many fill before the end and do not result in tubes.
            There are conducted tours in Lanzarote, probably busier than when I went in the 1970’s.

          • hmm, somehow I am not able to reply to Groundhog’s reply directly…

            I took many images, some especially about the northern exit of Meradalir, which I estimated to be about 20-30m above the lava level at that point (July 2nd)
            I assume this is a low area in Meradalir, as the gas concentration was quite high, judging from the stinging eyes and smell, I evaded by keeping more vertical distance to the lava plain.
            I am not sure what you mean by eastern exit, I definitely walked across it, but I cannot remember a distinctive low point that occured to me as a probable exit. But maybe I was very much preoccupied by the erupting volcano in front of me at that point (it started to erupt while I was behind a hill).

            I am still not done importing and organizing all my images and videos, and will update you with more images of the situation when I am done, but that might still be some days off.

            The northern exit of Meradalir looked like this:



            the gpx track of my hike around the volcano can be found here: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AjfGuqxEeYDx-BTCGelrGh1B0o4x

          • @ astrograph it’s the nesting comments, it only has so many steps or it would go off the rhs of the screen 😉
            They’re great photos of the northern Meradadalir exit. It reminds me of how large this field has become.
            The eastern exit is where the old vehicle track led into the valley; the SAR and researchers were using it to get to the first flow into lower Meradadalir early on.

          • When I was observing the eruption from the hill to the east of Meradalir I actually saw a car down at the eastern side parking on top of a lower hill, but when I got there it was nowhere to be seen, I assume it was the car the of team of geologists I met earlier.

            I need to check my images at home to see if I have some more of that area, when I crossed the low point on my way to Storihrutur it did not occur to me to check for the lava level, as far as I can remember, I was not close to the level of the lava.

          • I think Christopher Hamilton knows exactly about the height of the Lava at various possible exits in the area, as he is working with (or is responsible for) the marks in the landscape used for lidar and photogrammetry measurements.

          • The next set of thickness maps and 3D modelling are eagerly awaited…

  11. Just watching this stream of Taal here

    Again I think I may be imagining it, as I expect it’s quite humid there and clouds can generate easily. But doesn’t it look like the cloud / vapour is producing in a straight line from bottom left to the middle of the shot? The vapour keeps getting in the way of the camera but when it clear the line looks suspiciously straight. Fissure venting hot air and vapour?

    And there doesn’t seem to be much mist or low cloud around in the rest of the picture, except over the central crater.

    It’s got to be my fevered imagination looking for a pattern no?

    • OK, it’s shallow of me, but when watching the Taal footage, what I notice is all of the insects buzzing the lens, looking for their 15 minutes of fame.

  12. An aside: After watching an embarrassing amount of footage of the Iceland volcano, one thing I notice over and over again is that MBL.IS’s Samsung cameras handle fog, rain, smoke, shifting light conditions, movement by tourists across the frame, etc., better than the other cameras. If I’d made those cameras, I’d plaster my name in the corner of the screen, too.

    • Only thing they can’t handle is a bit of hot lava. Ok, lots of hot lava.

      I’d hope that Samsung would be working with MBL and try and get something built that is ‘vapour-proof’ so the issue of the close-up camera doesn’t continue. It’ll be good for Samsung – they can market the result so the gear can be put just about anywhere….except in a lava field.

      Yes, those cameras have performed admirably!

  13. Gas levels at Taal decreased substantially, still elevated though, I wonder if it means anything.

  14. Looks like Meradalir has increased ~5 meters in 6.5 days. That is nearly 5 million m^3. Assuming steady rates, roughly 7 million m^3 should have erupted, so about 2/3rds to Meradalir. That seems to be the long-term average share for Meradalir, was similar last update. Exit is still 10 meters or a little more away.

    • You think it is still more than 10 meters? It was not much more than that in the last 3D model, I though.

      • Last week, the lowest exit according to the elevation map was still 15+ meters, it is now 10+ meters. It is up to the 125 meters above sea level mark on the elevation map and the exit is between 135-140 meters. The elevation maps have proven quite good in the past. There is still a ways to go, by the time it reaches the exit, much of the plateau in the south between west and east Meradalir will be submerged.

  15. There is a weird deformation signal on Kilauea, all of the GPS units in the last few days jumped east by at least 1 cm, just an instant change. If it was only one it would be noise, but I have checked all the working stations show the same jump. Mauna Loa summit though doesnt show this, so if there is flank sliding from there it is not magmatic in origin.

    The strongest signal seems to be from Mauna Ulu, like there is magma just west of it. CRIM,PUHI and DEVL station is almost heading to the moon now, looks like magma is going into the chain of craters area instead of Halemaumau.

    • There was an M5 in Hawaii just a little while ago – odd place, just off the northwest coast of Mauna Kea.

      • That isnt old enough, but still very unusual to have a quake there. Deep flexure quake like the one at Kiholo Bay in 2006.

        Would presume this signal is deep magmatic activity under Kilauea, Mauna Loa doesnt really show a lot of spreading in the right direction to cause this. There has also just recently been some new quakes at Kilaueas summit and just above the magma pathways.

  16. At 22.46 the close-up mbl.is camera pulls back and pans left and right, giving great views of the field from the nw right round to the western overflow of upper Meradadalir.

    Anyone care to discuss the new pattern on the faf.gif image? Am I the only one seeing a sloping decrease of activity when the vent is in active phase?

    • Sounds interesting, but you lost me. (No surprise; I’m a relative newbie here.) New pattern on the faf.gif image?

      • Interesting square wave but need a few more cycles before anything ought to be deduced.
        Square waves typically due to significant positive feedback.

        • A cheap inverter salesman would tell you that’s not a square wave – it’s a “modified sine wave” 🙂

      • hraun.vedur.is/ja/oroi/faf.gif – tremor chart, you can see the drop-off to quiescence then a slow rise.
        Stick an http and a semicolon : and a couple of these in front and you can see it, it doesn’t seem to paste very well as a link.

        The previous 4 eruptive phases – first two had gradual decline but then a rise just before the end (like the best bang in a roman candle is last), last two do seem to have gradual declines. The lulls seem to be about the same length but the eruptive periods are shortening.

        • Indeed, the problem is the flow is not well correlated with the activity. Not surprising really as a narrow noisy tube at low throughput may well produce more noise than a smooth wide conduit at very high throughputs.
          Ideally we need to put a flowmeter on, but this presents ‘technical difficulties’.

        • I’ve been watching the Gredavic and Krisuvik plots.

          grv dot gif and krv dot gif

          They seem to presently show a failed surge. Though I promised to give up guessing, I’d guess that means we’ll have a stronger surge (proper surge) once it heads up once more.

  17. On the Icelandic cam-volcano camera equipment: it looks like the lens got fogged up or something similar at the vedur.is Meradalahnukur camera. It has been hazy for a several days now already, even when the weather was clear, and it was not just defocused (just very low contrast and some loss of detail). I think someone needs to go over there and clean the lens / get the condensation out of the housing. Any volunteers? 🙂

    Also, that camera should probably be 100 feet or so lower on the hill. WIth the typical weather, very often it sits exactly at the top of the inversion layer of the valley, where the visibility is worst (that haze layer which accumulates near the top of the ridges in the camera). A bit lower and the fog layer would be significantly weaker.

  18. FWIW, I was at the volcano last night (5 Jul 21) when it took a breather at 22:50.

    It was like God turned off the burner on a gas stove: the lava was boiling away as it had all through the afternoon and evening, and then it just sank below the crater rim. The glow reflected in the vapor column went away almost immediately, flickering briefly about 12 minutes after the lava disappeared from view – and then nothing more.

    • I think I would have been slightly worried with such a sudden stop.
      Never having visited any volcano that is erupting, but I can well imagine the sudden quietening would be somewhat unnerving.
      Its stopped at the moment, the “wishing Stone” has a couple being photographed by a friend at the Nátthagi camera. No doubt the lava is still flowing down the tubes.
      I guess a big outflow to look out for.

  19. We scan the faf tremor plot. Instant recognition, we try to tease meaning from a changed interval here, perhaps a slow decline there. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all those, known and unknown who bequeathed to us the humble, but essential, graph.

  20. Hey guys, what’s going on? Aren’t we past due for some lava?

    • faf graph is slowly rising but no sudden leap in intensity yet, maybe that’ll happen after extra time in Spain Italy?

      • It might be waiting for penalties, or for someone to feed the meter…

        • I’m pretty sure it’ll have kicked off again by morning, but I’m not waiting up. A hint that the 2-4Hz line is starting to cross the 0.5-1Hz line, but it’s too early to be sure.

  21. It seems we have factions emerging concerning some recent volcanic unrest! We have the Taal faction, in which my loyalties lie, we also have the Iceland faction and the Hawaii faction. Which will see success? We will find out!

      • No the Taal, Iceland and Hawaii factions are fighting for 2nd place, Etna has won the year, there has been a lot of travel to Iceland but every eruption on Etna is instantly viewed by over 1 million people, its easy to forget that 🙂

        Also Icelandic eruption is often reported in English despite the location, where Etna is reported in Italian, so slight language barrier.

    • I am backing the Italian faction as a whole (Etna et al) following Italy’s qualification for the Euro Soccer Final.

      Quick question
      The Guinness Book of Records once listed Ireland as the least seismically active/interesting country in the world. A (rare) Mag 2 tremor is noteworthy on news bulletins.
      The last noteworthy shake was the Llyn peninsula quake (1984, Wales UK) which rattled Dublin a touch.

      Is the lack of interesting things interesting enough for an article?

      Long time lerker, seldom poster

  22. Kilauea ERZ conduit lit up by quakes this past day, particularly a cluster next to Mauna Ulu which includes a quake from the last 2 hours. Still not at immediate eruption risk but there is clearly some pressure in the area.

  23. My Sister was there two weekends ago, I couldn’t go because my passport was expired(as I beat myself in the head). She said it was the experience of a lifetime.

    This is from Þorvaldur Þórðarson, professor of volcanology at the University of Iceland in an article from Mlb.is.


    “This eruption is actually 17 kilometers long. Although the thumb is only placed on the nozzle at the very top, it has little effect at a depth of 17 km. There needs to be significant changes to the entire access system to stop the lava flow from occurring. ”

    The entire article is interesting.

  24. “It’s death, Captain, but not as we know it.”
    Is it all over at Geldingadalur? Even the drumplots are fading. I’m not so sure about Þorvaldur Þórðarson’s viewpoint.

    • Tune in next week and find out!! But first….a word from our sponsors!

  25. https://ingvvulcani.com/2021/02/22/lapilli-e-ceneri-il-magma-primitivo-delletna-non-ha-segreti/

    Not exactly new but still relevant. Etna is also apparently having a direct mantle eruption right now. That would explain a few notable characteristics of the eruptions this year, namely the extreme height of the fountains, and the high fluidity of the lava compared to some of the stuff of past years. I want to know what the deformation is showing, the activity back in March induced deflation but evidently not enough, and the activity more recently has been a little less intense and more effusive, which would suggest it is driven by increasing chamber pressure rather than deep set degassing/plinian activity. The supply rate is also quite enormous at the moment, the volume of lava erupted this year is probably in excess of 200 million m3, which would make it the biggest lava eruption this year by far.

    On another note the SEC complex also could have become the new summit very recently, which is a historical event as it could represent the tallest that Etna has ever been since the Roman era, or at least since 1669.

    • Unlike some other hopefuls, I have planned to be on the mountain in June 2022. Given the magma source as described, this activity might just yet be ongoing.

  26. At this moment I don’t see any lava boiling and spattering in the crater on the livestreams . Has the eruption maybe ceased?

    • faf chart is just showing a sharp rise, IF it is sustained we can probably expect lava to be back well before England v Denmark.

      Anyone know how frequently the tremor charts are updated?

        • If it is picking up again (as it looks), I would imagine that you should be able to start seeing an orange glow in the crater within the hour (if the cloud stays away)

          • It’s just dropped again! But the Natthagi “bum cam” has a nice cameo of a guide explaining the volcano to his tourists, with much gesticulation and arm waving

        • And the tremor has dropped off again 😮

          Is it just teasing us now ?

          • Well, we know it is manicuring it’s social media presence quite well keeping everyone on their toes and keeping it fresh, so teasers is a good way I suppose, just wait until it starts the clickbait 😀

          • We will be watching the camera’s in anticipation when (and if) the tremor picks up and it will open a new vent somewhere off camera

  27. Just saw a flock of birds fly by on the cam focus on the vent.Perhaps they felt a rising vibes to awaited eruption.

  28. The equivalent of raising your hand in class then putting it down before anyone notices.
    Previous thickenings of the drumplot have resulted in visible lava flow every time so far. Not this time. It’s dying down again.
    The ongoing question – the end or just another phase?


  29. There was a M 5 earthquake near Tatun…If we start seeing activity there too, I am going to lose it.

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