Philippine volcano trembles more, spews lava half-mile high
TAGAYTAY, Philippines (AP) — A volcano near the Philippine capital spewed lava into the sky and trembled constantly Tuesday, possibly portending a bigger and more dangerous eruption, as tens of thousands of people fled villages darkened and blanketed by heavy ash.
Government work was suspended and schools were closed in a number of towns and cities, including Manila, because of health risks from the ash. Hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed, affecting tens of thousands of passengers.
The continued restiveness of the Taal volcano and several new fissures in the ground nearby likely mean magma is rising and may lead to further eruptive activity, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.
The volcano was spurting fountains of red-hot lava 800 meters or half a mile into the sky, and the massive column of ash and volcanic debris at times lit up with streaks of lightning.
The alert level since the eruption began Sunday has been 4, indicating a hazardous eruption is possible in hours to days.
Level 5, the highest, means such an eruption is underway.
About 50 volcanic earthquakes were detected over eight hours Tuesday, indicating rising magma, the institute said.
It also warned that heavy and prolonged ash fall was possible in nearby villages.