Tungurahua volcano activity stabilizes but eruption threat remains high

Oct 6, 2016

Ecuador’s Instituto Geofísico says that pressures inside the Tungurahua volcano has declined slightly but that the possibility of an eruption remains high.

The Tungurahua volcano during 2013 eruption.

The Tungurahua volcano during 2013 eruption.

“Because activity has stabilized and declined a little does not mean the danger has passed,” says institute geologist Patricio Ramon. “This is still a very dangerous situation and there a likelihood that activity will intensify in coming days or weeks.”

Ramon also cautioned that the fact that there is little gas and steam visible above Tungurahua is not an indication that surrounding communities can relax. “The volcano’s central vent is blocked by hardened magma, which means there is a great amount pressure below,” he said. “When pressure begins to build again it could mean that we will have a larger, more explosive eruption.”

The latest report Geophysical Institute says activity at the volcano remains moderate although small earthquakes continue to be recorded, indicating movement of magma two to three kilometers underground.

Federal risk management officials are working with local governments in the area near Tungurahua and report that evacuation plans are in place if they are needed.

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