Tungurahua update, 13 January 2010 13 January 2010Posted by admin in activity reports, Ecuador, Tungurahua.
Tags: Ecuador, Tungurahua, volcanic activity reports
The Instituto Geofísico has issued a new special bulletin (PDF), reporting that ‘activity at Tungurahua volcano continues to increase, especially in the last 24 hours’. The bulletin notes that seismic tremor, gas and ash emissions and strombolian activity have all increased:
At a superficial level an increase in the number of explosions has been observed, some of them sufficiently intense to be audible in the cities of Ambato and Baños; the emissions columns are of greater size, some reaching 3 km above the crater, at the same time their ash content has increased and consequently there has been an increase in ash falls, especially on the flanks of the south-western sector of the volcano; last night and early this morning sustained lava fountains were observed, that is, ejection of incandescent material from the crater, reaching heights of up to 1000 m and projecting onto the flanks of the volcano up to distances of more than 1.5 km from the crater rim; equally, the detection seismic tremor has increased substantially, recording bands with a duration of several hours when ejection of volcanic material occurs, accompanied by intense rumbles heard in locations as distant as Riobamba, Mocha and Ambato; on 8 January instruments around the volcano detected the presence of some 7,500 tonnes of sulphur gas in the emission columns, compared with values during preceding weeks of around 100-200 tonnes/day.
Field observations have revealed that around 5 mm of ash had fallen up to 10 January in Cahuají and Choglontús, with lesser accumulations in surrounding areas, and slight falls in more distant places such as Riobamba and Penipe. If ashfall continues to increase, warns the bulletin, ‘it will doubtless produce a short-term impact on the livestock and agricultural sectors, and in the medium and long term on the health of people in the affected areas’. Increased ash and lava block accumulation also raises the risk of lahars.
The Instituto Geofísico notes that during the latter half of 2008 the volcano displayed activity similar to that of the present time, and that the level of activity increased up to the end of that year but subsequently decreased by mid-January 2009 and did not progress to a larger-scale eruption.
In agricultural areas to the south-west of Tungurahua, ashfall is already causing severe problems. El Comercio reports that crops are being damaged and animals are unable to feed on pasture covered with ash. Farmers who have invested in animals, seed corn and new planting during the last few months now face the prospect of losing their livelihoods because of the reactivation of the volcano. The local authorities of affected areas are asking the National Government for financial and material assistance, say reports in Diario Hoy and El Universo, while people living around the volcano are seeking assurances that there will be sufficient police to guard their properties if they have to evacuate.
For all our Tungurahua coverage: Tungurahua « The Volcanism Blog.
La caída de ceniza aumenta en 2 comunas – El Comercio, 12 January 2010
Tungurahua: ceniza empieza a dañar las frutas – Diario Hoy, 12 January 2010
Alcaldes de zonas cercanas a volcán piden emergencia – El Universo, 12 January 2010
Global Volcanism Program: Tungurahua – summary information for Tungurahua (1502-80=)
Instituto Geofísico (Escuela Politecnica Nacional) – Geophysical Institute of Ecuador