Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute of Ecuador reported Sunday that seismic activity inside the Tungurahua Volcano, near Ambato, continues to build and that an eruption is possible within a matter of days or weeks
The institute says that earthquakes recorded near the crater indicated growing pressure within the volcano’s main duct. “Because of months of inactivity, volcanic material within the duct has solidified and is under pressure to explode,” an institute bulletin said. “It is impossible to estimate when this event will occur but it could be within a matter of hours or days or even longer.”
According to Ecuador’s risk management office, officials in communities near the volcano are on alert for a possible eruption. The tourist community of Baños de Ambato, population 20,000, is in the most danger in the event of a major eruption. The city was evacuated for several months in 1999, at the beginning of the current cycle of Tungurahua’s volcanic activity.
Authorities in Ambato, a city of 200,000 20 miles to the west of Tungurahua, are also preparing evacuation plans in case of a large eruption.