The Tungurahua volcano and its neighboring Sangay volcano are two of the most active volcanoes of Ecuador. Although the Tungurahua volcano is in an almost permanent state of activity, authorities had to declare an Orange alert after recent incandescent flows and some violent explosions.
LIVE Webcam image – The image you will see here is a live image – Please click on the image if you like to watch it in full size. Webcam image courtesy Instituto Geofisico de Ecuador
Recent and current Activity
- Activity is still going on yesterday as can be seen on the picture below. The weather is too bad and too many cloud decks are blocking the view to show the incandescent explosions.
Update 20:56 UTC : December 7 IGEPN bulletin
SUMMARY OF THE ACTIVITY OF THE VOLCANO
The volcano remains at an important activity level characterized by lower emission columns at 3km with low ash content and blowing to the W and NE. In the morning a powerful explosion was reported but due to the weather conditions the altitude of the column could not be measured. Ash fall was reported in populations of Cusua and Chacauco. The flanks of the volcano and the streams remain areas of very high risk.
Seismicity: 10 explosions, 66 long-period events (LP) and 48 emission tremor periods
Rain and lahars : no raining
Weather : the volcano was or completely covered with clouds or partially covered at some times (check the webcam)
The biggest fear at the moment is that eventual rains can take the ash deposits downhill and create dangerous lahars. Authorities are warning drivers to look very carefully into the valleys while crossing the volcano rivers
Update : December 7 – 13:39 UTC
The eruption is still continuing as you can see on the webcam. El Comercio writes this morning that the tourist trade in Baños is gradually recovering from the annoying ashfall. IG has not yet published a new bulletin today (early morning in Ecuador), but the eruption cloud on the webcam is still showing strong activity with regular explosions.
Update : December 6
The population of Sierra centro and Pastaza provinces received a lot of white fine ash fall yesterday. Schools in Baños and in Agua Santa had to suspend classes. More than 5,000 students could not go to school. The volcano intensified his eruption on Sunday afternoon. Yesterday, the streets, parks, terraces and roofs of buildings in the greater Baños area were covered with a layer of ash. Baños is also the gateway of the avenida of the volcanoes towards the Amazon. Personnel of stores, hotels and restaurants started a huge task of cleaning the ash from the plazas, footpaths etc. The eruption was still going on this morning with ash showers, explosions etc. Fountains of lava near the crater have been reported. Luckily no rain yesterday, as rain may take a lot of ash downhill. This morning at 08:00, the sky was cloudy and the activity could not be seen.
Tourists are being told to stay away from the dangerous parts of the volcano.
Since this morning the intensity of emissions (gas and ash) seems to be decreasing, according to a report by the Geophysical Institute of Ecuador. Seismic activity associated with the activity is continuing. Ashfall and 8 minor explosions were reported in the villages surrounding the volcano. No pyroclastic flows or expulsion of incandescent rocks from the crater have been seen recently. Emergency services have warned villagers to stay away from river valleys during periods of rain, as the recent pyroclastic flows can create dangerous land and mud slides of pyroclastic material.
A total of 638 families living in three parishes in the Tungurahua volcano area received aid from the SNGR. People living near the the volcano are used to the activity as there is always some continuing seismic activity. However, the authorities decreed an orange alert on Sunday due to the sudden increase in eruptive activity.
Various relief agencies in the province provide help to the inhabitants of Cotaló, Cusúa, Bilbao, Chacauco, Pillate and other sectors affected by the volcano by providing evacuation trucks that transport them to shelters in La Paz and Riobamba.
The ‘Guadalupe’ Center which is monitoring Tungurahua reported constant explosions (windows rattled at the Center) as well as an ash cloud that rose to more than two kilometers.
At 02:00 on 28 November an explosion ejected incandescent material that fell on all flanks, and generated a pyroclastic flow that descended the Achupashal drainage basin. Starting before 0500 and continuing until 0900 an almost constant roar was heard and incandescent blocks traveled 1 km down the flanks, especially towards the W and NW.
Three pyroclastic flows were noted on the S flank.
Windows vibrated at the Tungurahua Observatory (OVT) in Guadalupe (14 km N). During the day, an ash plume rose 3 km above the crater and drifted in multiple directions. White ashfall was reported in Manzano, Choglontús (SW), Pondoa (8 km N), and Runtún (6 km NNE). In the evening incandescent blocks that were ejected 300 m above the crater rolled 400-500 m down the flanks. On 29 November an explosion detected at 0611 produced a small pyroclastic flow that traveled 500 m. Another pyroclastic flow at 0955 traveled 1 km W. Gas-and-ash plumes rose 4 km above the crater and drifted SE and W. According to a news article, people in high risk areas on the flanks, in communities such as Cusúa, Juive, Palictahua, and Manzano, evacuated voluntarily.
IG reported that increased seismicity from Tungurahua was detected at 15:40 on 27 November, and at 16:50 the seismic network recorded 4 volcanic-tectonic earthquakes. Two small explosions at 17:01 and 17:05 were followed by a large explosion at 17:18.
Pyroclastic flows descended the Achupashal, Chotanpamba, and Mandur drainage basins on the NW and W flanks. Two more large explosions were detected at 17:31 and 17:35.
Incandescent blocks traveled 1 km down the flanks, and roaring noises and sounds resembling “cannon shots” were reported. Ashfall was reported in Manzano (8 km SW), Bilbao (8 km W), and Pillate (8 km W), ash and tephra fell in Cotaló (8 km NW), and tephra fell in Cusúa (8 km NW).
At 19:05 a pyroclastic flow descended the S and SW flanks.
Global Volcanism Program information
Tungurahua, a steep-sided andesitic-dacitic stratovolcano that towers more than 3 km above its northern base, is one of Ecuador’s most active volcanoes.
Three major volcanic edifices have been sequentially constructed since the mid-Pleistocene over a basement of metamorphic rocks.
Tungurahua II was built within the past 14,000 years following the collapse of the initial edifice. Tungurahua II itself collapsed about 3000 years ago and produced a large debris-avalanche deposit and a horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the west, inside which the modern glacier-capped stratovolcano (Tungurahua III) was constructed.
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.
Prior to a long-term eruption beginning in 1999 that caused the temporary evacuation of the city of Baños at the foot of the volcano, the last major eruption had occurred from 1916 to 1918, although minor activity continued until 1925.
The video below is from a band of Baños, the biggest city at the base of the volcano. The video has nice music and shows a lot of pictures from Tungurahuas activity.