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Tungurahua update 22 December 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Ecuador, eruptions, Tungurahua.
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Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador has been fairly calm since its flurry of activity in the summer, maintaining a low level of activity characterized by low seismicity and emissions of gas and water vapour. On 15 December the Ecuadorian Instituto Geofísico reported in their Special Bulletin No. 19 (PDF) that there had been a slight rise in activity. Increased seismicity in the form of continuous tremor was registered from 1640 local time on 15 December, and ash emissions intensified, with an ash column that quickly reached 1km altitude and dispersed towards the north-east. Ashfall was reported in towns and villages to the north-east, and incandescent blocks were observed being erupted from the crater at the times of increased ash emission. The bulletin notes that this level of activity is relatively low, below that recorded in February, May and July 2008.

On 19 December a further Tungurahua Special Bulletin, No. 20 (PDF), was issued by the Instituto Geofísico. This reported a continuing increase in the levels of seismic activity and the occurrence of strombolian activity, explosions, and eruption columns of up to 6km altitude. Light ashfall took place south-west of the volcano, and roaring sounds have been heard. At present the Instituto Geofísico interprets ‘the new pulse of activity as related to an injection of magma that through the ascent of its gases has disrupted the remnant of magma located in the upper part of the volcano’, and anticipates that the activity of recent days – incandescence, strombolian activity, roaring sounds and eruption columns with variable ash content – will continue over the short term. Any longer-term forecast, they say, would be ‘premature’.

The new activity is causing concern among local inhabitants, reports El Comercio, with farmers requesting that the government provides emergency food supplies for livestock and distributes protective masks and medicines to populations affected by ashfall.

For all our Tungurahua coverage: Tungurahua « The Volcanism Blog.

El volcán Tungurahua registró nuevas explosionesEl Comercio, 21 December 2008 (Spanish)
Aumentaron explosiones del TungurahuaEl Universo, 21 December 2008 (Spanish)

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

The Volcanism Blog