Tungurahua, Ecuador

IG reported that although visual observations were occasionally limited due to cloud cover, ash-and-steam and ash plumes from Tungurahua were seen and rose to altitudes of 5.5-8 km (18,000-26,200 ft) a.s.l. during 2-8 January. Plumes drifted NW and W. Ashfall was reported in areas to the W and SW during 3-4 and 7-8 January.

On 1 January, ash emissions were continuous and incandescent blocks rolled down the flanks. Roaring noises and “cannon shots” were heard, and the ground and windows vibrated in areas to the NNE and NNW. On 3 January, the seismic network recorded a high number of explosions. Some explosions caused acoustic waves similar to “cannon shots” that vibrated windows in areas to the W and NW. These explosions ejected incandescent blocks from the summit crater that rolled 500 m down the flanks. On 4 January, “cannon shots” were again noted as far as 13 km away; this caused large windows to vibrate in areas to the W and glass to break in Puñapí. Explosions vibrated the ground in one town and generated ash plumes that rose to an altitude less that 6 km (19,700 ft) a.s.l. During 5-8 January, roaring noises and “cannon shots” continued; windows and floors vibrated as far as the Tungurahua Observatory (OVT) in Guadalupe, about 13 km NW, on 6 January.

According to news articles, nearly 1,000 people were evacuated on 6 January to spend the night in evacuation shelters. They were allowed to return to their villages in the daytime to tend to homes, crops, and animals.

Sources: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional , Associated Press – “Reports provided courtesy of the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program.”

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