Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador): powerful vulcanian eruption sends plume to above 40,000 ft altitude
Sun, 2 Feb 2014, 09:5609:56 AM | BY: T
Strong explosion at Tungurahua and a pyroclastic flow this morning
Pyroclastic flows descending from Tungurahua during the paroxysmal explosion at 17:39 (local time) yesterday evening
A strong phase of activity (a paroxysm) occurred yesterday afternoon, with a series of powerful vulcanian explosions, that produced an ash plume surpassing 40,000 ft (13 km) altitude, heavy tephra fall and pyroclastic flows to up to approx 8 km length.
The same scene a few minutes later
Activity began to increase at approximately 17:00 (local time ). At 17h12 and 17h32 (local time), two moderate-sized explosions occurred that generated ash columns that rose approx 5 km above the summit, and partial collapses of the column produced pyroclastic flows that descended about 500 m in the north-eastern and north-western flanks.
These explosions were followed by a larger explosion at 17h39 (local time), that erupted a sustained column rising quickly about 8 km above the volcano (i.e. to 40,000 ft / 13 km altitude). Heavy ash fall occurred immediately afterwards on all sides of the volcano, most notably to the NW, NE, W, W and SE. In the sector of Chacauco, the tephra fall caused total darkness (!).
Collapsing parts of the eruption column produced larger pyroclastic flows that descended the Juive, Vazcúnto, and other canyons draining from the volcano reaching its feet. The largest flow descended on the NW side reached the lower Achupashal valley, cut the Baños-Penipe road and plunged into the Chambo river after reaching more than 7-8 km from the volcano.
Some of the flows damaged IGPEN monitoring instruments in the ravines of Vazcun, Achupashal, and Juive.
After 19h00 (local time ), the activity gradually decreased and turned to continuous, but still very strong strombolian explosions that were accompanied by strong shock waves that rattled windows and roofs of houses in surrounding villages. Lava fountains could be seen rising 500-800 m from the crater.
At the moment, activity continues at reduced levels (compared to last evening) with frequent small to moderate explosions. The most recent updates can be found at the website of the volcano observatory: www.igepn.edu.ec/recursos/noticias.html.
Sat, 1 Feb 2014, 20:52
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Thu, 30 Jan 2014, 18:37
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