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Cerro la Cumbra volcano (Fernandina, Galapagos): new eruptive phase with fissure fountains and lava flows reaching the sea

Monday Jun 18, 2018 14:30 PM | IS

Photograph showing the fissure through which lava erupts during the current  of the Fernandina volcano (source: Marcelo Izquierdo, Yate la Pinta).
Photograph showing the fissure through which lava erupts during the current of the Fernandina volcano (source: Marcelo Izquierdo, Yate la Pinta).
Seismic record of tremor registered at the FER1 station, located on Fernandina Island, prior to and during the start of the new eruptive phase. (source: IGEPN)
Seismic record of tremor registered at the FER1 station, located on Fernandina Island, prior to and during the start of the new eruptive phase. (source: IGEPN)
Satellite images of Fernandina Island with thermal anomaly on the NNE flank (left) and gas cloud to the SW (right) (NOAA GOES 16 source).
Satellite images of Fernandina Island with thermal anomaly on the NNE flank (left) and gas cloud to the SW (right) (NOAA GOES 16 source).
After a short precursory period of seismic unrest, the volcano on Fernandino island, Galapagos, started a new eruptive phase on Saturday 16 June around 11h00 – 11h15 local time. A fissure on its NNE flank opened up with lava fountains that produced flows which quickly reached the sea.

Cerro la Cumbra volcano on Fernandino, the youngest island in the volcanic chain of the Galapagos, has entered a new eruptive phase. Saturday morning June 16, 2018, the Instituto Geofysico of Ecuador (IGEPN) reported a new seismic crisis only 9 months since the volcano’s last eruption. From 08h37 Galapagos Time (Ecuador Time -1 h) 9 earthquakes of magnitude higher than 2.5 were recorded. The largest earthquake was of magnitude 4.1 and occurred at 09h22 local at an estimated depth of 4 km. A few hours later the IGEPN confirmed that the volcano had started a new eruptive phase based on visual confirmation of boat passengers who reported their observations of lava flows reaching the sea at the Galapagos National Park.

IGEPN reports that the new eruption started on the north-northeast flank of the volcano and that based on photos and videos received at the Geophysical Institute it concerns a radial fissure eruption located on the NNE flank of the volcano. A number of lava fountains shoot up from the fissure and create lava flows that quickly reached the sea. The gas plume of about 2-3km height has only a low ash content but is extending more than 250 km to the west-northwest. IGEPN states that past eruptions of this volcano had durations from days to weeks, so they estimate a similar time frame for this eruptive phase. It should be noted that there are no human settlements in the area of the eruption and that the direction of the wind carries the gas to the west-northwest, contrary to the direction of the populated islands (Isabela, Santa Cruz, Floreana and San Cristobal). Recent satellite images also show a thermal anomaly on the volcano’s NNE flank. (IGEPN)
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