Taal eruption: Lake that filled crater of Philippine volcano has almost completely disappeared

The lake within the Taal volcano has disappeared amid the ongoing volcanic activity. The picture on the left is a Google Maps satellite photo of the lake before the volcanic activity. In the radar image on the right, the dashed line is the lake's former extent; the solid line is the extent on Jan 16, 2020. PHOTO: ICEYE

MANILA - The lake that once filled the crater of the Taal volcano in the Philippines has almost completely disappeared due to the interaction of water with the magma that has driven a lot of the volcano's explosive behaviour since Sunday (Jan 12).

Scientists are monitoring the situation closely with ground and space instrumentation to determine what will come next as Taal continues to erupt, albeit with less of the ash production seen earlier this week, the BBC reported.

The disappearance of most of the lake's waters was captured in a radar image by the Finnish Iceye radar constellation, which relied on the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to peer through ejected ash and clouds at the hard surface below.

In the image, a dashed line shows the extent of the lake before the onset of the eruption phase on Sunday, while a solid line outlines the extent of the lake's waters at the time the radar image was captured at 6.37 GMT (2.30pm Singapore time) on Thursday.

Other radar satellites are being used to track how the ground is deforming around the volcano. The European Union's Sentinel-1 spacecraft are able to do this by stacking repeat images one on top of the other.

This interferometric technique will help scientists understand how magma is shifting below the volcano and what that might mean for future activity.

The Philippine authorities have warned residents evacuated from the area not to return home amid fears of renewed volcanic activity after a lull.

Steam rises from the Taal volcano in a view from Tagaytay, Cavite province, southern Philippines, on Jan 16, 2020. PHOTO: AP

"Please allow us to observe the lull period for now. We are studying what that means," Dr Maria Antonia Bornas, a scientist from the Philippines' seismology agency, told reporters.

"A long lull could be just a break from volcanic activity. The danger remains," she was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse.

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