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Peru practices for El Misti eruption 17 May 2009

Posted by admin in El Misti, natural hazards, Peru.
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El Misti volcano, Arequipa, Peru, 29 April 2007
El Misti volcano from Arequipa, 29 April 2007. [source]

El Misti in southern Peru, a 5822-metre stratovolcano, has an active eruptive history and last erupted in 1985. The volcano overlooks the city of Arequipa, which has a population of 1.2 million people. El Misti’s recent activity has been on a relatively small scale (no eruption larger than VEI=1 since the fifteenth century) but it poses a potential danger to thousands of people — about 2000 years ago a pyroclastic flow from the volcano travelled some 12 km, and winds have spread ash as far as 20 km from the cone.

In July 2001 a NASA commentary noted that the local civil defence and planning authorities regard the volcano as a ‘remote danger’ and that the city of Arequipa is continuing to expand towards the volcano. It seems, however, that some of the Peruvian authorities are now aware of the dangers: Peru.com reports that an exercise has just been held to simulate the evacuation of nearby districts in the event of an eruption. The exercise was organized by Peru’s Instituto Geológico, Minero y Metalúrgico (INGEMMET) with the local authorities in Arequipa and neighbouring areas and the Peruvian Army. Sirens sounded, trucks carried evacuees to shelters, procedures for providing tents, warm clothing, blankets and food were tested. The practice evacuation involved only 150 people, but the aim was to ‘sensitize’ the local population about the dangers of an eruption and the importance of being prepared.

News
Eventual erupción del volcán Misti afectaría a 100 mil personas – Peru.com, 16 May 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: El Misti – summary information for El Misti (1504-01=)
Instituto Geológico Minero y Metalúrgico – Geological, Mineral and Metallurgical Institute of Peru (Ingemmet)

The Volcanism Blog