Quake under small Philippine volcano triggers panic
The quake with a magnitude of about 2.0 on the Richter scale shook the volcanic island of Taal at about 7:45 pm (1145 GMT) Sunday, causing some of the 5,000 residents to flee, officials said. The island residents however began to return on Monday, officials said. Florencio Manimtim, mayor of Talisay City where many had sought refuge, said "their fears were probably worsened by all the news of the tsunamis that hit South Asia so they were very cautious about any calamity." The quake under Taal volcano, on an island lake some 60 kilometersmiles) south of Manila, was volcanic in origin but did not mean an eruption was imminent, said the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
"At the moment, there are no immediate signs we can relate to an impending eruption," said Bart Bautista, the chief seismologist of the institute. Bautista said there were no signs of increased steam being emitted by the volcano or of an increased temperature in the water in the volcano's crater -- two indicators of a coming eruption. The 311-meter (1,026-foot) high volcano last erupted in 1977 but caused little damage. Its last deadly eruption in 1965 killed 200 people, the institute's records showed.