The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) on Sunday said that it would unveil a three-level warning system for volcanic eruptions by the end of this year, amid concerns about the Datun Volcano Group (大屯火山群) and Turtle Island (Gueishan Island, 龜山島).
An Academia Sinica research team led by Lin Cheng-horng (林正洪) last year announced that a long-term study had concluded that the Datun group in northern Taiwan and Turtle Island, which is off Yilan County, are active, meaning that they must have erupted within the past 10,000 years and have magma reservoirs under them.
The warning system would use data on volcano-related earthquakes, ground temperature and surface deformation as references for normal values, the bureau’s Seismological Center said, adding that volcanic eruptions are easier to predict than tsunamis or earthquakes.
The bureau and the Ministry of Science and Technology have set up observation stations on Datunshan (大屯山) to monitor volcanic activity, the center said.
The system would be a color-coded three-level alert, compared with the five-level warning systems used in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia, all of which have more active volcanoes than Taiwan does, it said.
Too many levels might create “unnecessary trouble” for residents in the areas, it added.
The bureau would use green, yellow and red to indicate the level of caution that the public should exercise, it said.
Green would mean that monitored parameters for volcanic activity are normal; yellow would indicate higher-than-normal parameters and red would signal an impending or ongoing eruption, it said.
When necessary, national alerts would be sent to people via the Internet, text messages and cell broadcasts after consultations with a special task force made up of geological experts, it said.
The National Fire Agency would decide whether access to mountains in the warning area should be restricted and residents evacuated, it added.
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