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Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador): small pyroclastic flows, activity summary 6-18 Oct

Sat, 19 Oct 2013, 06:51
06:51 AM | BY: T
Small pyroclastic flow on the upper slope on 15 Oct (image: Pat. Mothes, IGPEN)
Small pyroclastic flow on the upper slope on 15 Oct (image: Pat. Mothes, IGPEN)
Strong ash emission on 18 Oct 08:20 local time (Pat. Mothes, IGPEN)
Strong ash emission on 18 Oct 08:20 local time (Pat. Mothes, IGPEN)
The eruptive phase that had started on 6 Oct, after a quiet interval of 3 months, continues to increase. The volcano observatory reports ash columns rising up to 3 km above the crater and the first occurrence (so far) small pyroclastic flows.
In the early days of this phase, seismic activity was characterized by an increase in the number and energy of the events related to the mobilization of fluids into the volcano such as long-period events, tremor and explosions and emission signals of variable magnitude. Superficially, low intensity strombolian activity and ash emissions could be observed, resulting in ash fall in the areas of El Manzano, Bilbao, Chacauco , Choglontús , Mocha, Pillate and on the upper slopes of the volcano itself.
Seismicity peaked last Friday (11 Oct) when explosions and emissions generated emission columns of 500-2000 meters above the crater, with a low content of ash, causing further ash fall in several areas around the volcano.
Since past Monday (14 Oct), the number of explosions and seismic signals related to fluid movements has increased significantly again. Explosions were small to moderate and generated noises heard in several areas around the volcano. On Tuesday afternoon, two small pyroclastic flows formed during larger emissions, traveling a few hundred meters on the upper slope towards the Achupashal drainage.
Ash emission columns have been reaching 3 km above the crater and plumes drifted mainly towards the northwest.
SO2 emissions climbed from 90 tons per day and to 3000-4000 tons per day since 16 Oct, another indicator of fresh magma rising within the volcano.
Deformation has generally been low, but a month ago there had been inflation at the top of the cone.
Ash fall has occurred on all flanks of the volcano, and accumulated to more than 1 mm of ash in Baños de Agua Santa, Runtún and Penipe. A pause of activity occurred on 17 Oct, but resumed during the night between 17-18 Oct with more explosions that ejected large blocks and dense ash columns.
It is possible that this type of activity continues during the next days, and it is believed that the volcano is currently in a state of having an open conduit allowing the rapid rise of magma, resulting in the currently observed continuous mild to moderate explosive activity.
It is recommended to avoid the areas close to the volcano, in particular valleys that radiate from its flanks.

Previous news

Thu, 17 Oct 2013, 10:55
Activity has been constant and slowly increasing. Strombolian explosions produce a column of gas and ash rising about 1 km, mostly driting west and north. Light ash fall has been reported from Penipe and Choglontus, and to the north, in Runtún. Near the volcano, constant rumbling is heard. ... Read all
Wed, 16 Oct 2013, 06:00
IG reported that after a 3-month lull in activity at Tungurahua, a new eruption that began on 6 October was characterized by increased seismicity, Strombolian activity that ejected incandescent blocks, and ash plumes that produced ashfall in nearby areas. Seismicity peaked on 11 October and high-level ash plumes again produced ashfall in nearby towns. The number of explosions increased on 14 October and two small pyroclastic flows traveled a few hundred meters the next day. ... Read all
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