Taal Volcano is erupting, and sadly, it's not the only one. Across the globe, there are numerous other volcanoes spewing ash columns, steams, and lava right this second. But no, this isn't a strange occurence nor is it a prophetic news on the apocalypse.
The current volcanic activity of the Mayon (it's currently on Alert Level 2) or the eruption of the Popocatepetl and Mt. Shintake volcanoes in Mexico and Japan respectively, or any volcanic activity in other parts of the world for that matter, wasn't triggered by the recent eruption of the Taal Volcano. Thing is, the Earth is a geologically active planet. It has three sources of internal heat, according to the Scientific American:
- heat from the Earth's violent birth 4.5 billion years ago that it has retained
- frictional heating, caused by denser core material sinking to the center of the planet
- heat from decaying radioactive elements. Because of these, we are given thermal energy that gradually escapes from the depths of the planet and into space.
This thermal energy is also the reason why we have plate tectonics, including mountain and ocean formations, as well as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Now, how do volcano eruptions play into this?
To put it simply, volcanoes are nature's way to cool down the planet. Hence, it's a natural occurence all over the world. If you look at online data and real-time observation of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), you can see the eruptions of all active volcanoes right here.
Why is the Taal Volcano a big threat now more than ever if it has always been active?
Active volcanoes have their own "style" and frequency in erupting. A volcano can go quiet for lengths of time before it becomes rapidly eruptive, while some can spew out fountains of lava every day.
In Taal's case, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Director Renato Solidum says that the volcano's current activity is expected, "but the development means that lava has reached the surface of the volcano," CNN Philippines writes. Its last eruption was documented in 1977.
Can one volcano trigger another's eruption?
Volcanic activities across the world that cause one volcano to erupt—or a lot of them all at once—are purely coincidental. Such movements underground are erratic and extremely hard to predict as there are no clear patterns we can deduce. Even if volcanoes share the same tectonic plate boundary or are in the same country, they don't cause each other a chain reaction. There have been no scientific proof that closely-spaced volcanoes trigger each other's activities. Again, we must remember that volcanoes act on their own machinations. They aren't connected in any way, and more importantly, they're not a prophetic sign of the end of the world.