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Analysis of the 2020 Taal Volcano tephra fall deposits from crowdsourced information and field data

Abstract : After 43 years of dormancy, Taal Volcano violently erupted in January 2020 forming a towering eruption plume. The fall deposits covered an area of 8605 km2, which includes Metro Manila of the National Capital Region of the Philippines. The tephra fall caused damage to crops, traffic congestion, roof collapse, and changes in air quality in the affected areas. In a tropical region where heavy rains are frequent, immediate collection of data is crucial in order to preserve the tephra fall deposit record, which is readily washed away by surface water runoff and prevailing winds. Crowdsourcing, field surveys, and laboratory analysis of the tephra fall deposits were conducted to document and characterize the tephra fall deposits of the 2020 Taal Volcano eruption and their impacts. Results show that the tephra fall deposit thins downwind exponentially with a thickness half distance of about 1.40 km and 9.49 km for the proximal and distal exponential segments, respectively. The total calculated volume of erupted fallout deposit is 0.057 km3, 0.042 km3, or 0.090 km3 using the exponential, power-law, and Weibull models, respectively, and all translate to a VEI of 3. However, using a probabilistic approach (Weibull method) with 90% confidence interval, the volume estimate is as high as 0.097 km3. With the addition of the base surge deposits amounting to 0.019 km3, the volume translates to a VEI of 4, consistent with the classification for the observed height and umbrella radius of the 2020 main eruption plume. VEI 4 is also consistent with the calculated median eruption plume height of 17.8 km and sub-plinian classification based on combined analysis of isopleth and isopach data. Phreatomagmatic activity originated from a vent located in Taal Volcano's Main Crater Lake (MCL), which contained 42 million m3 of water. This eruptive style is further supported by the characteristics of the ash grain components of the distal 12 January 2020 tephra fall deposits, consisting dominantly of andesitic vitric fragments (83-90%). Other components of the fall deposits are lithic (7-11%) and crystal (less than 6%) grains. Further textural and geochemical analysis of these tephra fall deposits contributes to better understand the volcanic processes that occurred at Taal Volcano, one of the 16 Decade Volcanoes identified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI) because of its destructive nature and proximity to densely populated areas. The crowdsourcing initiative provided a significant portion of the data used for this study while at the same time educating and empowering the community to build resilience.
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 30, 2022 - 1:53:09 PM
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M. I. R. Balangue-Tarriela, A. M. F. Lagmay, D. M. Sarmiento, J. Vasquez, M. C. Baldago, et al.. Analysis of the 2020 Taal Volcano tephra fall deposits from crowdsourced information and field data. Bulletin of Volcanology, 2022, 84, ⟨10.1007/s00445-022-01534-y⟩. ⟨insu-03708907⟩

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