Authorities in the Philippines have warned that the Taal volcano, south of Manila, could erupt "anytime soon" after recording the highest levels of sulfur dioxide gas emission.
"The highest levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide gas emission were recorded today at an average of 22,628 tonnes a day, the highest ever recorded in Taal volcano," the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said in an update on Sunday.
The Institute said the "current sulfur dioxide parameters indicate ongoing magma extrusion at the main crater that may further drive succeeding explosions".
The institute said it has recorded "a total of 26 strong and very shallow low-frequency volcanic earthquakes associated with magma degassing beneath the eastern sector of Volcano Island".
The institute added that some of the earthquakes were accompanied by rumbling and weakly felt by fish cage caretakers off the northeastern shorelines of the volcano island.
These observation parameters may indicate that an eruption similar to the one on July 1 "may occur anytime soon", according to the institute.
It raised the alert level to 3 on Taal volcano in Batangas province on July 1, following a phreatomagmatic eruption that "generated a short-lived dark phreatomagmatic plume 1 km high".
A phreatomagmatic eruption refers to "an eruption that involves both magma and water, which typically interact explosively".
Meanwhile, local authorities said that more than 5,000 villagers living close to the volcano have been evacuated to the temporary government shelters.
Taal volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, last erupted in January 2020.
The last eruption displaced nearly 380,000 villagers and destroyed many farms, houses and roads in the province.