Skip to main content

An Ash-Damaged Island in the Philippines

When it erupted in January 2020, Taal Volcano blanketed the surrounding area with volcanic debris that has taken a toll on farmers. 
Credits

Transcript

(SPEECH)
[GENTLE MUSIC]
 
(DESCRIPTION)
Text, Earth Watch, Exploring the blue planet by satellite.
 
An aerial shot of planet earth. Text, Earth Watch, an Ash-damaged Island in the Philippines Earth observatory. Earth observatory dot nasa dot gov. Expedition 61 crew, International Space Station. January 22, 2020. On January 12, 2020, the Taal Volcano in the Philippines awoke from 43 years of quiet and began to spew gases, ash and lava into the air.
 
The eruption dropped a layer of wet, heavy ash on the surrounding landscape, turning lush fields and forests a ghostly gray.
 
This oblique image from the International Space Station shows ash blowing from the volcano in the wind 10 days after the eruption. Luzon Island in the center of the image. Taal Lake almost completely surrounds the Taal Volcano southeast of the island. A label indicates ash re-suspended by wind as it travels west across the island.
 
Text, Images from Landsat 8 captured before and after the eruption show some of the devastating effects of volcanic ash, which is made of small, jagged pieces of hard, abrasive rock and glass.
 
Dozens of people perished during the eruption, and large numbers of livestock and pets were left behind when residents evacuated.
 
Before eruption, December 6, 2019. After eruption, March 11, 2020.
 
Coffee, rice, corn, cacao, and banana crops were damaged by the thick mud-like blanket of ash, which hardened into a cement-like layer when it dried.
 
In before, an arrow labels farmland in the southeast. In the after image, it is labeled volcanic ash and is dark grey. Text, The ash even affected fish being raised in thousands of aquaculture pens in Taal Lake. Roughly 30% of the fish cages in the lake were destroyed during the eruption.
 
Although Taal Volcano now appears barren, the layer of new ash will help keep the soil fertile.
 
Thick clouds hang over the island in the after image.
 
Text, Plants will eventually recover and the lush tropical landscape will return. In the before, the island is mostly dark green.
 
Text, To learn more, go to earth observatory dot nasa dot gov.