Wednesday Whatzits: Taal quiet and quite tall

A few very quick hits:

Ever-looming Mt. Rainier, with Tacoma, Washington in the foreground.

  • PHIVOLCS is pondering whether to lower the Alert Status at Taal back to Level 1. The volcano has been on Alert Level 2 for the past month after increasing signs of potential eruptive activity. However, seismicity is down at Taal, so PHIVOLCS will be sending a ground team to do a survey before deciding whether to lower the Alert Level. The heightened state of alert at Taal has lead to some people taking advantage of the populace, with little more than a fake text message to cause panic.
  • Just how tall is Mt. Rainier, anyway? Apparently this is a subject of some debate, with estimates anywhere from 3,700 to 4,700 meters (12,300-15,500 feet), with the current value at 4,392 meters (14,410 feet). Measuring the volcano accurately was harder than it seemed back in 1988 when the current elevation was established - at that time, it took 150 people to conduct the survey. Today, we're down to 12. Ah, technology!

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Last elevation check by GPS was 1999, and that number was only off by less an inch compared against the previous measurement. Not sure what they expect to find, but that last height difference figure was suspiciously well within the error limits of the equipment technology.