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Landslide provokes volcano fears in northern Peru 21 February 2010

Posted by admin in natural hazards, not-a-volcano, Peru.
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Peruvian news outlets are full of reports of a landslide in San Luis de Lucma district, Cutervo Province, which is in the northern Cajamarca Region of Peru. This is not a part of the country normally associated with volcanic activity (in Peru the active volcanoes are found in the far south), but local inhabitants apparently believed that a volcano was erupting and asked to be evacuated: local sources say up to 2000 people wanted to be moved out. Some news reports speak of an ‘explosion’ and dust clouds including ‘sulphur’:

The strange event occurred at approximately one in the afternoon, affecting about 20 hectares of farmland, where at the moment of the explosion there were people working their lands with their animals, who have been buried. The mayor of San Luis de Lucma, Santos Delgado Fernández, said that there were at least 100-150 victims after the blast, the majority residents of villages around the scene of the incident. ‘They have lost crops and animals’, he said. Local inhabitants said that after the explosion took place the area was transformed into a dust cloud, putting the health of hundreds of locals at risk through the emanation of smoke and sulphur that can cause asphyxiation.

Landslides are not uncommon in Peru and can be deadly, particularly in the rainy season (a fatal landslide occurred last month in the south). This area of northern Peru has no history of volcanic activity so the fears of a volcanic eruption are almost certainly the products of panic and a misunderstanding of the nature of the event. The local head of Civil Defence, Miguel Alva, is quoted as saying that this was a landslide, and that it is not uncommon for landslides to generate ‘a large cloud of smoke’. Similarly, the director of seismology at the Instituto Geofísico del Perú, Hernán Tavera, has affirmed that this was a landslide caused by recent rains and not a volcanic event: ‘There is no volcano in the country north of Ayacucho’. The blast and smell of sulphur, Tavera says, would have been caused by the disruption of thermal springs in the area of the landslide.

The landslide has disrupted local water supplies and affected a nearby hydroelectric plant. Around 300 people were affected by the event, and latest reports say that eight people are missing and five houses were buried.

The Volcanism Blog

El Misti at the NASA Earth Observatory 2 November 2009

Posted by admin in El Misti, NASA Earth Observatory, natural hazards, Peru.
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El Misti volcano and Arequipa, Peru, 16 October 2009 (NASA astronaut photograph)

The Peruvian volcano El Misti is very close to the country’s second city of Arequipa: just 17 km separates the city with its ~1 million inhabitants from the volcano’s crater. The image above, a mosaic of two ISS astronaut photographs that is today’s Image of the Day at the NASA Earth Observatory, shows the potentially dangerous relationship clearly. Larger versions of the image, and a full commentary, are available over at the Earth Observatory. There is, however, no scale bar on the Earth Observatory images, so I have added one to the small version above.

El Misti Volcano and Arequipa, Peru – NASA Earth Observatory (2 November 2009)

[Astronaut photographs ISS021-E-8370 and ISS021-E-8371 were acquired on 16 October 2009 by the Expedition 21 crew. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.]

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

Peru practices for El Misti eruption 17 May 2009

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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

Ubinas photographs from 15 March 2009 20 March 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, natural hazards, Peru, Ubinas, volcano monitoring.
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On 15 March the Peruvian volcano Ubinas released a plume that, according to Buenos Aires VAAC, rose to nearly 10km. Two great photographs of this event (from the Peruvian state geology service INGEMMET) have been published at En Morrenas, which is the blog of Peruvian geologist Patricio Valderrama.

Ubinas does not get a lot of coverage or analysis outside Peru, but is an active and undoubtedly dangerous volcano. It has been pretty much continuously active with gas and ash emissions since erupting in 2006, with very disruptive effects for those living nearby.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Ubinas – summary information for Ubinas (1504-02=)
Instituto Geológico Minero y Metalúrgico – Geological, Mineral and Metallurgical Institute of Peru (Ingemmet)
Volcán Ubinas – Erupción 2006 – Ingemmet portal for Ubinas

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Activity at Ubinas causes concern 18 March 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, natural hazards, Peru, Ubinas.
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A report in the Peruvian paper La Primera today says that activity at Ubinas is increasing, and that the emissions of gas and ash from the volcano are causing increasingly serious problems for local residents. Gas emissions and ashfall are damaging grasslands, leaving cattle with nothing to eat and affecting the livelihoods of around 800 people in the nearby districts of Querapi, Ubinas and Sacoaya.

Damage caused by volcanic emissions to local crops and pasture is a recurrent problem at Ubinas.

News
El volcán Ubinas quiere despertarLa Primera, 18 March 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Ubinas – summary information for Ubinas (1504-02=)
Instituto Geológico Minero y Metalúrgico – Geological, Mineral and Metallurgical Institute of Peru (Ingemmet)
Volcán Ubinas – Erupción 2006 – Ingemmet portal for Ubinas

The Volcanism Blog

Eruptions at Ubinas, Peru 3 May 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, eruptions, Peru, Ubinas.
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Two small eruptions took place at Ubinas volcano in Peru yesterday, 2 May 2008, projecting ash and gas to an altitude of 500 metres and causing alarm in neighbouring villages. Local reports spoke of ash being deposited on houses and crops. This activity brought to an end a week of calm at the volcano.

The possible evacuation of 45 families from the immediate vicinity of Ubinas is being considered by the provincial emergencies committee, reports El Comercio today, but as there would be no money to feed the evacuees, nothing has been done.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Ubinas – summary information for Ubinas (1504-02=)
Instituto Geológico Minero y Metalúrgico – Geological, Mineral and Metallurgical Institute of Peru (Ingemmet)
Volcán Ubinas – Erupción 2006 – Ingemmet portal for Ubinas

News
Ubinas se activa otra vezDiario Correo, 3 May 2008 (Spanish)
Emanan gases y cenizas en el Ubinas tras una semana de calmaEl Comercio, 3 May 2008 (Spanish)
Dos nuevas explosiones del Ubinas alertan a la población de Moquegua – RPP Noticias, 3 May 2008 (Spanish)

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