What the Philippines volcano ‘worst-case scenario’ could look like
With millions of people at risk, experts are looking to past big eruptions to better understand the unique hazards this peak can produce.
Normally, the view from the webcam sitting inside Lake Taal in the Philippines shows clouds drifting over the lake’s placid waters, as verdant slopes rise in the distance. But on the afternoon of January 12, this peaceful scene was suddenly interrupted by a torrent of hot ash and gas, before the camera was smothered by darkness.
The outpouring marked the beginning of an unnerving eruption sequence at Taal Volcano, which sits on the island of Luzon. On the first day, steam-driven blasts flung ash nine miles into the sky. Startling displays of volcanic lightning ricocheted around this dark maelstrom, and a myriad of intense volcanic earthquakes rocked the region. On January 13, the eruption became somewhat more magmatic,