Updates on eruptions in Guatemala and Ecuador
Two volcanoes are making headlines right now (and neither is in Iceland).
As I mentioned yesterday, Pacaya in Guatemala erupted (video) causing widespread disruption of life in the nearby Guatemala City and costing two people their lives (including a TV reporter who got too close to the vent). Almost 2,000 people have been evacuated from the region near the volcano. The BBC has posted some impressive video of the eruption of Pacaya, showing the strombolian explosions sending basaltic tephra high into the air. This volcanic tephra has already destroyed or damaged over 800 homes near the volcano with up to 7 cm of ash fall. This could become especially troublesome when one of the first tropical storms of the summer arrives in Guatemala later this weekend – remember, ash can absorb a lot of water, making it even heavier and leaving to roof collapse.
Meanwhile, in Ecuador, Tungurahua had a number of explosive eruptions over the last few days, prompting evacuations of nearby villagers and livestock and the closure of Guayaquil Airport. The volcano has produced a 10 km (32,000 foot) ash plume and could top out at 12 km (40,000 feet) according to Hugo Yepes of the Ecuadorian Geophysical Institute. The BBC World has images of Tungurahua and the ash from the current eruptions.
It is interesting to note that the news coverage of both of these eruptions made sure to point out the closure of the airport – something that wasn’t as common in such article prior to the Eyjafjallajökull eruption.