We’ve had a new eruption in Ecuador and one in Guatemala. The Ring of Fire seems to be waking up!
With all the earthquake activity that we’d seen lately (see this link with live earthquake maps, so you will see the quake activity today, but with comments reflecting what it looked like when I wrote this). Even Brazil is having quakes!
I was cruising through the volcano reports and it just sounded like something fun was going on. I'd love to find a video of this, but have not had time to look yet. Besides, folks are always talking about Chaitén or the Indonesian volcanos. It's fun to look at something else from time to time. (And yes, Chaitén is still going and still has a chance of being a Super Volcano, but that could be a million years away. Literally. While this puppy could put on a real show any day now!)
One of my favorite bits is this quote from http://www.volcano.si.edu/reports/usgs/index.cfm#fuego
FUEGO Guatemala 14.473°N, 90.880°W; summit elev. 3763 m
On 20 May, INSIVUMEH reported that explosions from Fuego produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 4.4-4.8 km (14,400-15,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW. Incandescent material was ejected to heights of 100 m and avalanches descended the S and W flanks.
Geologic Summary. Volcán Fuego, one of Central America’s most active volcanoes, is one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala’s former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between 3,763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the N, Acatenango. Construction of Meseta volcano continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene, after which growth of the modern Fuego volcano continued the southward migration of volcanism that began at Acatenango. Frequent vigorous historical eruptions have been recorded at Fuego since the onset of the Spanish era in 1524, and have produced major ashfalls, along with occasional pyroclastic flows and lava flows. The last major explosive eruption from Fuego took place in 1974, producing spectacular pyroclastic flows visible from Antigua.
Gotta love a volcano named Fuego!
PACAYA Guatemala 14.381°N, 90.601°W; summit elev. 2552 m
On 20 May, INSIVUMEH reported that small explosions and incandescence from Pacaya’s MacKenney cone were accompanied by white and blue plumes. Multiple lava flows traveled as far as 1.6 km down the SW flank.
So it looks like an interesting time in the capital of Guatemala!
Oddly, they have nothing on the Ecuador volcanism yet. But they do have this on Costa Rica:
ARENAL Costa Rica 10.463°N, 84.703°W; summit elev. 1670 m
According to news articles, an eruption from Arenal on 24 May produced gas and ash emissions as well as multiple lava flows, prompting the evacuation of Arenal National Park.
Geologic Summary. Conical Volcan Arenal is the youngest stratovolcano in Costa Rica and one of its most active. The 1,657-m-high andesitic volcano towers above the eastern shores of Lake Arenal, which has been enlarged by a hydroelectric project. The earliest known eruptions of Arenal took place about 7,000 years ago. Growth of Arenal has been characterized by periodic major explosive eruptions at several-hundred-year intervals and periods of lava effusion that armor the cone. Arenal’s most recent eruptive period began with a major explosive eruption in 1968. Continuous explosive activity accompanied by slow lava effusion and the occasional emission of pyroclastic flows has occurred since then from vents at the summit and on the upper western flank.
The last time they reported on the Ecuadorian volcano they said:
TUNGURAHUA Ecuador 1.467°S, 78.442°W; summit elev. 5023 m
The IG reported that during 5-6 January a gas-and-ash plume from Tungurahua rose to an altitude of 6.5 km (21,300 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was 3,200 tons per day, ten times the value measured during the previous months. On 7 January seismic tremor duration and amplitude increased, and signals indicative of explosions were detected. On 6 and 7 January, incandescent blocks were ejected and fell back into the crater. During 8-10 January, cloud cover often prevented observations; on 10 January a steam-and-ash plume rose to an altitude of 6.5 km (21,300 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W. Incandescence from the crater was sometimes seen at night. Ashfall up to 5 mm thick was reported in areas W and SW on 9 and 10 January. Roaring noises and vibrating glass were occasionally noted during the reporting period.
During 11-12 January, activity increased; ash plumes rose to higher altitudes and more explosions were detected. Incandescent blocks were ejected almost 1 km above the crater and 1.5 km away from the crater, onto the flanks. Gas-and-ash plumes rose to an altitude of 8 km (26,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. Ashfall was reported in areas to the NNW, W, SW, and S.
Geologic Summary. The steep-sided Tungurahua stratovolcano towers more than 3 km above its northern base. It sits ~140 km S of Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, and is one of Ecuador’s most active volcanoes. Historical eruptions have all originated from the summit crater. They have been accompanied by strong explosions and sometimes by pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached populated areas at the volcano’s base. The last major eruption took place from 1916 to 1918, although minor activity continued until 1925. The latest eruption began in October 1999 and prompted temporary evacuation of the town of Baños on the N side of the volcano.
So toward the south of the country and away from Quito, but a “big one” that is often active.
But for current news, we will need to look elsewhere. How about this from:
Meanwhile, strong explosions rocked Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano, known as the “Throat of Fire”, prompting evacuations of hundreds of people from nearly villages.
The National Geophysics Institute said hot volcanic material blasted down the slopes of the volcano, and ash plumes soared 10 kilometers (6 miles) above a crater that is already 5,023 meters (16,479 feet) above sea level.
The wind blew ashes over the city of Guayaquil, forcing the authorities to halt air traffick out of it and from the capital, Quito, to nearby Peru.
Eruptions at Tungurahua, 150 kilometers (95 miles) southeast of Quito, buried entire villages in 2006, leaving at least four dead and thousands homeless.
Has a good description of the Costa Rica action too.
From: http://www.seablogger.com/?cat=22 we have:
Interesting pattern of activity reported this week in the Smithsonian world roundup. Cleveland Volcano has activated in Alaska. It is capable of brief but significant explosive eruptions. Also several of the largest volcanoes in Indonesia have activated. Nothing dramatic is happening at any of them, but the clustering attracts attention, especially with all the major earthquakes that have recently struck those islands. Imagine living there! It would certainly promote a live-for-today attitude, quite at variance with the innate austerities of the imported Western religion.
Chaiten goes unmentioned now. On the last clear day I saw dust plumes from occasional small avalanches, but nothing more. The eruption is in a major pause, or perhaps it has finally ended. A remarkable dome-build — the skyline of the Andes has totally changed when viewed from the ruins of the town. As the dome stabilizes, I am sure it will become a place of interest for rockhounds. The unusual chemistry of Chaiten guarantees many rare and beautiful silca minerals, which can be collected before they weather.
So Alaska is waking up too, but there is good news in that Chaiten is taking a rest. Maybe we won’t get a supervolcanic event out of it after all ;-)
But no mention of Ecuador… yet.
But in this case, it looks like the MSM are actually reporting news:
Ecuadorean villagers have fled their homes after the Andean nation’s “Throat of Fire” volcano erupted, spewing ash that forced officials to re-route some flights and close an airport, authorities said.
In the second volcanic eruption in Latin America on Friday (local time), loud explosions shook the ground and rattled windows near the volcano known as Tungurahua in the indigenous Quechua language, 130 kilometres south-east of Quito, officials said.
Residents close to the 5,020-metre volcano were evacuated from Cusua and Juive Grande villages, the president’s office said in a statement.
Officials in the area said hundreds of families had been moved, while Ecuador’s aviation authorities closed the airport in coastal Guayaquil and altered the routes of some flights to avoid the ash cloud.
“The eruptive column is some 10 kilometres high,” Hugo Yepes, director of Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute, said.
Tungurahua has been classed as active since 1999 and had a strong eruption in 2008. It is one of eight active volcanoes in the country.
Mr Yepes said ash plumes could “easily” reach to 10,700 to 12,200 meters at which long distance flights operate. “As such there should be at least a diversion for international routes,” he said.
More in the article, hit the link…
Interesting times… and it’s nice to see folks like Reuters being first on the news scene again.