Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador): large explosion this morning, ash to 36,000 ft (11 km altitude)

Tue, 8 Mar 2016, 16:31
16:31 PM | BY: T
Explosion at Tungurahua yesterday morning (image: EDUfoto / facebook.com/edufoto.org)
Explosion at Tungurahua yesterday morning (image: EDUfoto / facebook.com/edufoto.org)
Steam and ash plume rising 3-4 km above Tunguarhua on 5 March (image: OVT-IGEPN
Steam and ash plume rising 3-4 km above Tunguarhua on 5 March (image: OVT-IGEPN
Damages corn fields (image: P. Espín Bedón OVT-IGEPN)
Damages corn fields (image: P. Espín Bedón OVT-IGEPN)
The activity of the volcano has strongly increased since last weekend - a new surge of magma has been arriving at the summit vent and is producing a violent eruption from the summit crater. Its climax so far occurred this morning, at 07:51 local time, when a powerful explosion generated an eruption column that rose approx. 6 km above the crater and reached an altitude of estimated 36,000 ft (11 km). Pyroclastic flows (generated by partial column collapse) descended over 2000 m towards the Mandur and Achupashal areas.
Similar explosive activity, with increasing tendency, had already been occurring during the previous days, in particular since Sunday. Very strong explosions also occurred yesterday afternoon at 16:28 local time, two around noon (also yesterday), as well as at 19:35 and 05:35 local time on Sunday (6 March). All of them produced pyroclastic flows into various directions towards the western (Romero and Achupashal) and northern sectors (Mandur).
Violent shock waves that rattled windows and doors and ground rumblings accompanied the explosions and most of the time, a steam and ash column was rising 3-4 km from the volcano. At night, explosions could be seen ejecting incandescent material to great height (many 100 meters) and distances over the volcano's cone, generating spectacular avalanches.
Considerable ash fall has been affecting various areas around the volcano. In particular, the western sectors have suffered most. A team of IGEPN scientists measured a load of 7700 g/m2 of ash had accumulated since the end of February in the areas of Manzano and Choglontus. The area is rich in corn fields which have been severely damaged by the ongoing eruption.

Previous news

Fri, 4 Mar 2016, 11:46
Strombolian eruption at Tungurahua on 2 March (photo: E. Gaunt - OVTIGEPN)
The volcano is in a phase of mild to moderate strombolian activity. Incandescent bombs are ejected to the upper slopes of the volcano, generating avalanches. Ash plumes rise up to a few km above the crater and drift mostly in westerly directions. ... Read all
Wed, 2 Mar 2016, 06:00
IG reported that moderate-to-high levels of Strombolian activity at Tungurahua continued during 2-8 March. Daily explosions were often accompanied by roaring and sounds resembling gunshots, and often caused local structures to vibrate. Steam-and-ash plumes rose from the crater daily often to heights less than 2.5 km above the crater and drifted NW, WNW, W, and SW; ash plumes rose 5 km on 4 March and to 6 km with a SE drift on 8 March. ... Read all
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