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Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador): strong vulcanian explosion produces ash plume 5000 m tall

Sat, 27 Feb 2016, 11:24
11:24 AM | BY: T
Eruption plume of Tungurahua volcano yesterday (image:  J.L Espinosa-Naranjo @Ambalaser / twitter)
Eruption plume of Tungurahua volcano yesterday (image: J.L Espinosa-Naranjo @Ambalaser / twitter)
Two moderately large explosions occurred at the volcano yesterday noon from 12:12 local time. The first and larger explosion produced an ash plume that rose approx. 5000 meters above the summit.
The ash plume dispersed mainly to the west and northwest where ash fall occurred in areas including Choglontús, Pillate, Cahuaji and El Manzano.
According to IGEPN, the eruption - which came after a 3 months interval of quiet since last November - was most likely NOT the result of new magma, but instead of accumulated gas pressure in the upper conduit. Magmatic gasses (H2O, CO2 etc) still contained in older magma inside the conduit was being released quietly as the magma continued to cool and crystallize, but most of these gasses were being trapped beneath a solid plug. With time, the gas pressure increased to the critical point: the plug gave way in yesterday's explosions.
The explosion itself, a typical so-called "vulcanian"-type eruption, was preceded only by a short (lasting little more than an hour), but intense seismic swarm of shallow earthquakes caused by internal fluid movements and rock fracturing as pressurized gasses started to disintegrate the overlying plug.

Previous news

Wed, 24 Feb 2016, 06:00

Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador) - Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for 24 February-1 March 2016 (New Activity / Unrest)

IG reported that a swarm of volcano-tectonic and long-period earthquakes began at Tungurahua at 1105 on 26 February. At 1211 an explosion produced a plume with high ash content that rose 5 km above the crater and drifted W. Ash fell in Juive (NW), Chico, Choglontús (13 km WSW), El Manzano (8 km SW), and Cahuají (8 km SW). ... Read all
Wed, 25 Nov 2015, 06:00

Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador) - Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for 25 November-1 December 2015 (Continuing Activity)

IG reported high seismic activity at Tungurahua during 25 November-1 December, although the number of earthquakes decreased. During periods of clear weather on most days observers noted gas-and-steam plumes rising as high as 1.5 km and drifting mainly W. ... Read all
Show more

Satellite image of Tungurahua volcano by (c) Google Earth View
Satellite image of Tungurahua volcano by (c) Google Earth View
Tungurahua volcano
Stratovolcano 5023 m (16,479 ft)
Ecuador, -1.47°S / -78.44°W
Current status: normal or dormant (1 out of 5) Tungurahua volcano eruptions:
1534, 1557, 1640(?), 1641, 1644(?), 1646(?), 1757(?), 1773, 1776, 1777(?), 1781(?), 1857, 1885(?), 1886-88, 1900(?), 1916-25, 1944, 2000 - 2016, 2017 (?)
Typical eruption style
Explosive.
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