‘Throat of fire’ Tungurahua volcano signalling imminent, devastating COLLAPSE in Ecuador #Tungurahua #Volcano #magma #Ecuador
Scientists are warning that the Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador is showing early signs of impending catastrophic collapse, after satellite data showed substantial internal damage from ongoing magma activity.
Tungurahua, has been persistently active since 1999 so wear and tear was inevitable, especially given that the ‘Throat of fire,’ or ‘Black giant’ as the Quechua indigenous people named it, has already collapsed twice before thousands of years ago.
“Using satellite data we have observed very rapid deformation of Tungurahua’s west flank, which our research suggests is caused by imbalances between magma being supplied and magma being erupted,” says geophysical volcanologist James Hickey from the University of Exeter in the UK, whose worrying research was recently published.
Tungurahua previously collapsed at the end of the Late Pleistocene, after which it then rebuilt itself for thousands of years, before collapsing again about 3,000 years ago.
Such collapses can trigger massive landslides and pyroclastic flows, which can travel for tens of kilometers. For example, the collapse 3,000 years ago is thought to have laid waste to an area of roughly 80km sq (11,000 football fields).
Meanwhile, an eruption in 1999 forced the evacuation of some 25,000 people, so the impact on human life in the area should the volcano collapse again would be truly staggering.
The team admits, however, that magma supply is just one of many risk factors which should be closely monitored to mitigate risk and protect life in the area.
“Magma supply is one of a number of factors that can cause or contribute to volcanic flank instability, so while there is a risk of possible flank collapse, the uncertainty of these natural systems also means it could remain stable,” Hickey says.
Courtesy of rt.com
Yellow Alert issued due to unusual rapid inflation beneath Mt. Thorbjorn on Reykjanes peninsula, Iceland #YellowAlert #MountThorbjorn #reykjanes #iceland
The map shows recent earthquake activity in the area. Mt. Thorbjorn is situated just above the black triangle which indicates one of IMO’s seismographs.
Inflation has been detected in the last few days. An earthquake swarm has been ongoing during the same period. A state of uncertainty has been declared. The aviation color code has been raised to yellow for Reykjanes.
An inflation has been detected since January 21st and is centred just west of Mt. Thorbjorn on Reykjanes peninsula. The inflation is unusually rapid, around 3-4 mm per day and has accumulated to 2 cm to date. It has been detected both on continuous GPS stations and in InSAR images. The inflation is most likely a sign of magma accumulation at a depth of just a few km. If magma accumulation is causing the inflation, the accumulation is very small, with the first volume estimate is around 1 million cubic meters (0,001 km3). This is the conclusion of a meeting held with the Scientific council of the Civil Protection at the IMO this morning.
Accurate measurements of crustal deformation on Reykjanes peninsula span approx. three decades. During this period no comparable signal has been measured. This is unusual for this period. An earthquake swarm has been ongoing, since January 21st, alongside the deformation signal just east of the inflation centre (northeast of Grindavík). The largest earthquakes occurred on January 22nd and were of M3,7 and 3,6. They were felt widely on the Reykjanes peninsula and all the way to Borgarnes region. The earthquake swarm is currently in decline. Swarms like this are common and not unusual by itself in the area. The fact that an inflation is occurring alongside the earthquake swarm is a cause for concern and closer monitoring.
The inflation is centred within an active volcanic zone
The inflation is occurring on plate boundaries and within the volcanic system of Svartsengi which is either considered a separate system or part of the Reykjanes volcanic system. The last known eruption was during Reykjanes fires, which occurred between 1210-1240 AD. Within that period a several eruptions occurred within that system, thereof there were three eruptions in Svartsengi system. The eruptions were effusive (non-explosive) fissure eruptions erupting on 1-10 km long fissures. No explosive eruptions are known from this system. The largest eruption in the swarm, from 13th century, formed Arnarseturshraun lava (estimated 0,3 km3 and 20 km2). Historically, the duration of these eruptions spans from a few days up to several weeks. Seismic activity is very common in this area and is linked to the plate boundaries, geothermal activity and possible magma intrusions. The largest earthquakes measured in this area are about M5.5.
Courtesy of en.vedur.is
Sernageomin has raised the alert level to Orange for the first time since 2015 due to escalating seismic tremor and a more turbulent lava lake (present in some form since late 2014). Although fairly unlikely, it is possible that a repeat of the March 2015 paroxysmal event could soon occur if there is a similar trend in activity. An exclusion zone of 2km is in force.
Courtesy of volcanodiscovery.com