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Tungurahua update, 4 February 2010 4 February 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Ecuador, eruptions, Tungurahua.
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Tungurahua: the entire flanks of the volcano covered in incandescent material, 26 January 2010, 19:37 (P. Ramon, Instituto Geofisico)
Tungurahua: the entire flanks of the volcano covered in incandescent material, 26 January 2010, 19:37 (P. Ramón, Instituto Geofísico).

Activity at Tungurahua has been following a fairly set pattern over the past few days, with constant explosions, frequent ashfall, and lahars following heavy rains. The volcano’s seismic activity continues at a ‘moderate to high level, with a tendency to increase’, reports Ecuador’s Instituto Geofísico in its daily bulletin for 3 February 2010 (PDF). Ashfall has been taking place to the west of Tungurahua, in the areas of Manzano and Choglontus. Roaring noises and explosions of moderate intensity have been reported, and the volcanological observatory at Guadelupe had its windows rattled. Some lahars occurred on the flanks of the volcano following rains overnight, and the Riobamba-Baños road was closed by mudflows.

Tungurahua: lava fountain activity at night, 26 January 2010, 20:04 (P. Ramon, Instituto Geofisico)
Tungurahua: lava fountain activity at night, 26 January 2010, 20:04 (P. Ramón, Instituto Geofísico).

The most recent special bulletin for Tungurahua, no. 4 of 29 January 2010 (PDF), reported that following the rapid increase in the intensity of Tungurahua’s activity from the beginning of the year, activity declined from 15-23 January. On 24 January this calmer period came to an end with the explosions ‘becoming much more energetic and full of ash, which was accentuated on 27 and 28 January, causing concern throughout the area’. Ash columns reached 3 km altitude, and varying levels of ashfall occurred around the volcano. Sulphur dioxide emission levels reached 1000 tonnes/day, ‘indicating the active degassing of the magmatic body responsible for the current activity’. Since that bulletin there has been a slight decrease in the intensity of Tungurahua’s activity, but there is no sign of the current eruptive cycle ending and the Instituto Geofísico expects more upswings in activity over the next few days and weeks.

The National Assembly of Ecuador has voted to declare an ‘exceptional situation’, which isn’t quite a state of emergency, in the provinves of Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Bolívar because of the damaging effects of Tungurahua’s current activity and also of a drought which has affected the area for nearly a year. The main aim of the measure is to provide assistance to farmers whose livelihoods are suffering, although what concrete form such assistance might take is far from clear.

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

News
El volcán ecuatoriano Tungurahua registra una actividad sísmica ascendente – Agencia EFE, 2 February 2010
Estado de excepción para la Sierra centro por volcán TungurahuaEl Comercio, 2 February 2010
Asamblea Nacional pide estado de excepción para provincias de Chimborazo, Bolívar, Tungurahua y Cotopaxi – ANDES, 2 February 2010

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

The Volcanism Blog