After three days of moderate activity, the Cotopaxi volcano on Saturday sent a strong blast of ash and gas a kilometer and a half into the atmosphere. The previous four days had shown a slight decline in activity, with ash plumes rising only 100 meters above the crater.
The towns of Machachi, El Chaupi and Aloasí, west-northwest of the volcano, reported significant ash fall following Saturday’s blast.
Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute said that the level of activity within Cotopaxi remains high and that those living within the danger zone of an eruption should monitor reports frequently.
A team of geologists climbed the eastern flank of Cotopaxi on Friday to take detailed measurements.
Eighty miles to the south, the Tungurahua volcano showed intensified activity on Friday and Saturday, as a large mushroom cloud rose two kilometers above the crater.
The Geophysical Institute reported a series of small earthquakes prior to the blast on Friday. It also reported that volcanic ash was falling in several communities to the west of the volcano.
Residents of the tourist resort of Baños and other communities near Tungurahua have been advised to prepare for evacuation in case of a full eruption.