- Learn More
- Fun Stuff!
There has been an increase in activity at Tungurahua volcano, a steep-sided, 16,479-foot stratovolcano located in Ecuador in August 2012. The volcano is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes (the volcano has erupted periodically since 1999) and sits roughly 140 km south of the capital city of Quito. The most recent avticity at Tungurahua included 16 large explosions on August 20th. As nearby villagers heard the explosions, avalanches of incandescent material rolled 1.5 km down the flanks of the volcano during that evening.
On August 21st, an explosive eruption produced an ash column that rose 4 km into the air and pyroclastic flows that travelled 2.5 km down a creek. These eruptions caused the evacuations of 110 families.
In the image below you can see the large ash cloud blowing over the town of Bilbao. In the native Quechua language of the Andes, Tungurahua means "throat of fire".
Cleveland Volcano, a 5,676 foot tall remote volcano in the Aleutians recently erupted explosively to shoot a thin cloud of ash several miles into the sky. The activity was reported by the Alaska Volcano Observatory and one pilot who was flying in the area estimated that the ash cloud rose to 35,000 feet above sea level. Seismologists with the U.S. Geological Survey mentioned that the voclanic acitivity was in the form of one explosion, which is typical of the activity seen from Cleveland over the past year. Satellite images taken around the time that the pilot reported the ash plume show only a thin ash cloud around the volcano, which makes its seem as though the eruption was relatively short-lived and only posed a slight hazard to aircraft.
The remoteness of the area in which Cleveland Volcano is located makes it difficult for geologists to have on-site monitoring of the volcanic activity. Instead, they must rely on satellite imagery, wittness reports and other evidence to determine if an eruption has occurred.
Popocatepetl volcano in central Mexico showed recent activity that has people in the area on high alert. The volcano lies around 50 miles to the southeast of Mexico City and is clearly visible to the more than 19 million residents of the capital on a clear day. The lava dome on Popocatepetl, which means "Smoking Mountain" in the native Nahuatl language, started to expand on Friday and ash lightly dusted the cars and streets in some towns located close to the volcano. This, in combination with a steam-and-ash plume and elevated seismicity prompted local schools to cancel classes, emergency teams to prepare for evacuation, and CENAPRED, Mexico's National Center for Prevention of Disasters, to raise the alert status to Yellow Phase 3. This is the third highest threat level out of 7, indicating that local authorities should be ready for potential evacuations if the volcano has a major eruption. Image to left is plume of steam rising from Popo seen from the city of Puebla on Saturday, April 14th, 2012. (Photo - Joel Merino).
Because Popo has several summit glaciers, the potential hazards from Popo will include lahars that will form due to the mixing of water and volcanic debris, ash fall on the communities around the volcano, and perhaps even pyroclastic flows. A hazard map created by volcanologists at the University of Buffalo shows the area that could be affected by an eruption. A major eruption in 2000 forced the evacuation of nearly 50,000 residents in three states surrounding the mountain.
If conditions are good and you want to keep an eye on Popocatepetl and its activity, click here.