What does Taal Volcano look like now, after its January 12 eruption? News drones and even videos of actual visits (not exactly recommended, mind you) abound, but morbid curiosity still seems to be the thing of the moment.
On January 22, the International Space Station flew over the Philippines, specifically the Southern Tagalog area. This gave astronaut Christina Koch a good look as she took a photo of the Taal Volcano area.
Keeping watch on the volatile Taal Volcano in the Philippines from the @Space_Station. Just south of Manila, it stands out ash-covered and otherworldly in the middle of Taal Lake against the surrounding green highlands. pic.twitter.com/SY8NuuWOX4
— Christina H Koch (@Astro_Christina) January 22, 2020
Koch is an engineer and has been on the ISS since March 14, 2019. She is also the current record-holder for longest continuous time in space by a woman. Her photo shows the barren, ash-covered volcanic island in start contrast to its lush surrounding towns and provinces. Also captured in the photo are the various volcanic features in the region: the dormant Mount Makiling, the calderas of Corregidor, Malepunyo, and the heavily-silted Laguna de Bay (and its surrounding maars), and hints of the West Valley Fault System; a reminder both of the country’s geographically violent origins and its place in the Pacific Ring of Fire.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has also recently posted a closer look at the main crater as it is now:
#TaalVolcano Main Crater after the 12 Jan 2020 eruption. Crater floor is now visible with new lava flow and volcanic materials. Several eruption vents and active steaming are present. The Main Crater Lake Islet (Vulcan Point) is still visible. #ScienceForThePeople pic.twitter.com/hx94XXFaTF
— PHIVOLCS-DOST (@phivolcs_dost) January 23, 2020
Visible in the photo is the now-waterless crater lake area, steaming at the new fissures and vents, lava flow marks, and an apparently-intact Vulcan Point.
There are still indications that Taal volcano is still “swollen,” indicating magmatic movement underneath the terrain. Alert Level 4 remains in effect, which means hazardous explosive eruption is “possible within hours to days.”
So visiting the volcano out of sheer curiosity is not advisable as of this time. Hopefully these pictures are enough for now.