In preparation of a possible eruption of the Cotopaxi volcano, officials are conducting a review of public utilities, particularly electric transmission lines.
Ecuador’s security ministry says that there will be disruptions in the case of a major eruption and that their assessment is intended to minimize the damage. They also say they are looking at ways to reroute electric transmission to avoid power grid failure throughout the country.
“Electric transmission lines and water supplies could be destroyed and our job is it maximize the resources that continue to function,” said a ministry spokesman. He added that the most severe damage will occur in valleys that will be inundated by pryroclastic flows and lahars in case of an eruption.
The country’s Geophysical Institute confirmed Saturday that a small lahar occurred on Friday, August 28, filling stream beds at the base of the volcano with mud and ash. The institute said that the lahar was the result of rain heated by volcanic gas emissions falling on a glacier.
The institute reported Saturday that internal activity at Cotopaxi remains high and that gas and ash continues to flow to the west and northwest of the crater. It reissued a warning that residents within 50 miles of the mountain should closely follow reports of volcanic activity and be prepared to evacuate in case of an eruption.
The director of the institute says he expects an eruption and says it could occur at any time.