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Tungurahua update, 14 January 2010 14 January 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Ecuador, eruptions, Tungurahua, volcano monitoring.
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Yesterday’s daily bulletin (PDF) from the Ecuadorian Instituto Geofísico reports a continuing increase in the level of activity at Tungurahua:

In a manner similar to preceding days the activity of the volcano has continued to increase. In the last few hours there has been a greater number of explosions considered moderate to large in size, which have generated emissions columns of approximately 3 km in height and with high ash content. Interspersed with these events, the constant presence of an emissions column of less than 2 km and with moderate ash content has been observed. Reports have been received of ashfall in some nearby towns located to the west and south-west of the volcano.

The bulletin reports 11 long period earthquakes, 33 episodes of tremor and 83 moderate to large explosions over the preceding 24 hours. Constant roars and rumbles have been occurring, ‘interspersed with cannonades that in some cases make windows vibrate’. Incandescent blocks were ejected from the summit crater and lava fountains were observed overnight, with the latter reaching 500 m above the crater and projecting material 800 m down the flanks of the volcano.

‘The monitoring of the volcano is in trouble’, says the headline in El Comercio , which reports that power cuts are causing problems for the Instituto Geofísico station at Guadelupe which co-ordinates the monitoring of Tungurahua. A failure at the local electricity plant on Saturday caused a power cut which forced the station to rely on a gasoline-drive generator which worked for only half an hour; at this point the local fire chief came to the rescue with another generator. The Instituto Geofísico has asked the provincial governor, who also chairs the Tungurahua Emergencies Committee, to ensure that the electricity company provides reliable power to the monitoring station. Meanwhile ashfall continues to cause problems for local agriculture: ‘the dust that fell in recent days is thick and white,’ says José Cuica, a farmer from El Manzano. ‘I’m screwed. You can’t shift the ash. There will be no harvest’. Local authorities in northern Penipe are preparing for an increase in Tungurahua’s activity: El Universo says that an emergency plan is in place for the city of Riobamba, but reports that the alcaldes of Riobamba and Penipe have expressed doubt that the National Government really understands how serious the situation is, or has the necessary structures in place to provide help where it is needed.

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

News
El monitoreo del volcán tiene líosEl Comercio, 14 January 2010
En Riobamba preparan plan de prevenciónEl Universo, 14 January 2010
Autoridades insisten en emergencia por volcánEl Universo, 14 January 2010

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

The Volcanism Blog