A volcano in the Philippines has begun spewing lava, as authorities warn that a “hazardous eruption” is possible “within hours or days”.
In the early hours of Monday, a weak flow of lava began seeping out of Taal volcano – located some 70km (45 miles) south of the capital Manila.
It comes after it emitted a huge plume of ash, triggering the mass evacuation of 8,000 people from the area.
Taal is the Philippines’ second most active volcano.
Situated on an island in the middle of a lake, it is one of the world’s smallest volcanoes and has recorded at least 34 eruptions in the past 450 years.
Authorities in the surrounding province, Batangas, have declared a “state of calamity”, signifying major disruption.
“Taal volcano entered a period of intense unrest… that progressed into magmatic eruption at 02:49 to 04:28… this is characterised by weak lava fountaining accompanied by thunder and flashes of lightning,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said in a statement.
But Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said that signs of a hazardous eruption, including “flows of ashes, rocks, gas at speeds of more than 60 kph horizontally” had not yet occurred, according to CNN Philippines.
Phivolcs has now raised the alert level from 3 to 4, out of a maximum of 5.
Authorities have also warned of a possible “volcanic tsunami”, which can be trigged by falling debris after an eruption, pushing the water and generating waves.