PHIVOLCS has officially lowered Taal Volcano's status from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1. The new level still asserts that entry to Taal remains strictly prohibited while also warning of possible explosions, earthquakes, and minor ashfall.
It's a welcome change months after the volcano's ash explosion, with permanent effects including the damage on Taal's Volcano Island. Ash has settled on the island's landscape covering vegetation and other greenery with wet layers of sand-colored or gray powder.
The ash-damaged island now looks more like the surface of the Moon than that of earth as revealed by NASA's new photos taken by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.
According to NASA, "Aside from a few green promontories on the north side of the island, ash has altered much of the landscape, including several villages along the coasts."
"Most of the ash has likely washed away by now, but signs of it will persist for millennia in the rock record," explained Erik Klemetti, a volcanologist at Denison University. "Most of the ash that fell within the caldera is in the process of getting concentrated into gullies and streams or deposited into the lake."
It's not all bad news, however as the volcanic ash will keep the soil fertile allowing plants to recover eventually.
This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.