Activity at Tungurahua volcano, Ecuador

Friday evening, the Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador briefly spewed up a 10-kilometer column of ash. The initial eruption was over as quickly as it started, settling down after the 5-minute burst of activity that spilled pyroclastic material onto the volcano's flanks.

Illustration for article titled Activity at Tungurahua volcano, Ecuador

Photography Credit: AP

The pyroclastic flows ran down the northern and northwestern volcano flanks. That was quickly followed by a second, smaller, four-minute burst of activity. All this is following on lahars at the end of March, and moderate seismic activity near the volcano on Thursday.


Seismograph signal from RETU station, IG

The volcano has been erupting since 1999, with increasing activity for the past two months, repeatedly temporarily closing the airport. A release of toxic gas in 2006 killed four people. The volcano translates as "Throat of Fire," and is located in the tectonically active Pacific Rim of Fire.

The io9 Space subsite will have more on the eruption after the volcano decides if this was the precursor to more activity, or just a brief belch as it settled in to nap. In the meantime, read tiny bit about the history of volcanoes in Ecuador and their unstable slopes, or how volcanoes can build new islands. Think you've got what it takes to prevent catastrophes? Try on the role of Emergency Manager with the Stop Disasters! game.

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Is this in any way related to the tectonic activity near Chile, or just a coincidence? Just curious if the Pacific Rim plates are getting more active than normal.