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Tungurahua update, 22 July 2008 22 July 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Ecuador, eruptions, Tungurahua.

Tungurahua volcano in the Ecuadorian highlands is not a good neighbour. Since its current eruptive phase began in October 1999 it has been rumbling and roaring, erupting lava, causing lahars and depositing heavy ashfall on surrounding districts pretty much continuously. Occasionally activity subsides for a time, while on other occasions it builds up to significant explosive eruptions, as in July/August 2006 and February 2008.

At the moment Tungurahua’s level of activity appears to be rising. In its weekly report no. 27 (PDF) for 7-13 July 2008 (the most recent currently available) Ecuador’s Instituto Geofísico reported that ‘volcanic activity presented an upward trend’, with an increasing number of explosive events, continuous ash emissions, increasing gas emissions and a rise in seismicity. A sharp rise in seismic activity and significant volcanic tremor were reported on 16 July, which subsequently declined to a low level of activity.  The general level of activity since has remained low, but the daily bulletins have reported a continuing slight rise in seismicity and in explosive activity, with significant continuing ashfall, and eruption plumes reaching 5-7km altitude. The latest bulletin, for 22 July 2008 (PDF), reports that seismicity over the preceding two days ‘maintains a slight increase’ in comparison to previous days, ‘the number and intensity of explosions is slightly greater than during the previous week’, ash emissions have reached altitudes of 2-3km, and loud roars from the volcano, associated with explosions, have shaken windows and floors in nearby towns.

The Ecuadorian paper El Comercio quotes the Instituto Geofísico’s Patricio Ramón as saying that the volcano is ‘unstable’ with a highly variable and unpredictable pattern of behaviour: ‘its activity may change from one moment to another … These changes are … sudden’. However, the level of activity ‘does not compare with that recorded in the last period of intense activity in January and February this year’.

For all our Tungurahua coverage: Tungurahua << The Volcanism Blog

Global Volcanism Program: Tungurahua – summary information for Tungurahua (1502-80=)
Instituto Geofísico (Escuela Politecnica Nacional) – Geophysical Institute of Ecuador

La actividad del volcán Tungurahua continúa inestableEl Comercio, 22 July 2008 (Spanish)

The Volcanism Blog