Friday, May 18, 2007

When the Sleeping Giant Wakes

It is said that Taal Volcano was originally over 5km high and that the Tagaytay Ridge was once just the crest of the mighty volcano.

Taal Volcano has erupted 33 times since its first mention in Philippine History in 1572. Most of the eruptions were minor erruption sowing little devastation. But in 1749 a major eruption occured destroying the entire Volcano (Pulo) Island and the towns of Taal, old Sala and part of old Tanauan. Ashfall was witness as far as 60km away.

This was followed by an even more devasting eruption destroying the towns of Sala, Lipa, Tanauan and Talisay five years later in 1754.

Between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon of the said 29th, it began to rain mud and ashes at Caysasay [12 miles from the volcano] and this rain lasted three days. The most terrifying circumstance was that the whole sky was shrouded in such darkness that we could not have seen the hand placed before the face, had it not been for the sinister glare of incessant lightnings (History of Taal's activity to 1911 as described by Fr. Saderra Maso)

In 1911 another major eruption occured devastating Volcano Island and killing 1334 people. Ashes reached the City of Manila. The last major eruption occured in 1965, killing 200 people.

Taal Volcano is one of sixteen Decade Volcanoes in the workd identified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior as being worthy of particular study in light of their history of large, destructive eruptions and proximity to populated areas.

The Town of Talisay, Batangas today as seen from Tagaytay Ridge, Cavite. This town was destroyed by the eruption of Taal Volcano in 1754 (Picture from Digital Format).

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