Authorities in the Philippines started evacuating thousands of people on Thursday after raising the alert status on a restive volcano that spewed a 1-kilometer (0.62-mile) high plume of gas and steam. The alert for the Taal volcano, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of central Manila, was raised from level 2 to level 3 on the 5-tier scale, which the seismology and volcanology agency said meant a “magmatic intrusion” at the main crater “could further drive succeeding eruptions.”
Taal is one of the world’s smallest active volcanoes. Despite standing at only 311 meters (1,020 feet), it can be deadly, and an eruption in 1911 killed more than 1,300 people.
In January last year, Taal shot a column of ash and steam as high as 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) into the sky, which forced more than 100,000 people to abandon their homes, widespread flight cancellations and heavy ash falls in Manila. While the situation could go either way, authorities on Thursday warned the type of eruption could potentially be more hazardous than that of last year.
Water in Taal’s crater boiled before and after its eruption, a video posted on the Facebook page of the seismology agency showed.