Cotopaxi erupting, precautionary evacuations, state of emergency, not serious

Posted: August 16, 2015 by tchannon in volcanos

Famous name


Photo by Lee Siebert, 1978 (Smithsonian Institution)

Most news feeds have items and there is at least one current photograph, many are not, 400 people evacuated as a precaution, this volcano has previous. Ash has fallen in Quito. Earth tremors started during May/June but no major eruption is forecast.

Cotopaxi is a stratovolcano that has erupted 50 times since 1738. The 1877 eruption melted snow and ice on the summit, which produced mudflows that traveled 60 miles (100 km) from the volcano. The most recent eruption of Cotopaxi ended in 1904. Reports of an eruption in 1942 have not been confirmed. The most recent activity was an increase in steam emissions, melting snow, and small earthquakes from 1975-1976

Enjoy (and donate if you are flush)

Re: police line, Is it me or do the automatic wearing of dust masks, battle armour, tell of overreacting society? This is bad when it is police etc. trying to control things, get rid of the shades.

Like the building or other sites with zero overhead but hard hats are insisted upon.


Static image, 2015

Timing is right. Maybe more for Michele and others who watch these things.

Post by Tim

  1. craigm350 says:

    Factors to add – including the geomagnetic insatability – were an earth facing equatorial coronal hole
    and the inferior conjunction of Venus

    Sakurajima in Japan also showing signs of life (see earthquake report link in post above).
    Something about Venus?

  2. tchannon says:

    I can’t imagine anything more than slight triggers for a situation close to erupting. Why that particular volcano though?

    In other areas, mostly pacific ring of fire (Cotopaxi is one) there have been regular reports of major eruptions without any obvious geomag.

  3. Bob Weber says:

    Good one Craig, but the new moon isn’t in view… 😉

  4. craigm350 says:

    Bob – I completely missed that! The moon is quite hidden so I did another screenshot – the moon is the dark shadow on Venus this time, no wonder I missed it! 🙂

    Michele looks to be on holiday but I dropped a comment. Hopefully he’ll pop by later. I thought of his graphics from last time, hence the Venus comment, which may show why Cotopaxi.
    Funnily enough was watching Wal Thornhill’s EU2015 gravity presentation and he mentioned Venus’s tail ‘tickling’ earth. Both Ben Davidson and Piers had this as an elevated period, although with different reasoning (Ben works more from planetary alignments, Piers sun+moon).

    Tim – certainly it was ready to go. Did the ‘tickle’ provide the trigger? Michele’s graphic may hopefully illuminate as he can pinpoint where, something I hope to be able to do at some point. There have also been a series of M6.5+ quakes during the period also. I should update my spreadsheets (or at least go back to my manual writing down which is how I first came to be interested in this) they were quite reasonable at showing the ebbs and flows of seismic activity.

  5. hunter says:

    Hmmm…. if the news about the actual number of volcanoes erupting at any time is right- that there are very many subsea that are so far uncounted, then the astronomical influence explains a lot less, I think.

  6. tchannon says:

    Underwater vulcanism is operating in a high pressure regime, the rules will differ, not that I have a clue.

    Question: how common are explosive subsea eruptions? Do we know of any?

  7. oldbrew says:

    ‘Submarine volcanoes are underwater vents or fissures in the Earth’s surface from which magma can erupt. They are estimated to account for 75% of annual magma output.’

    West Mata blew in 2009.

    ‘West Mata is a submarine volcano at 1,100 meters depth located 200 kilometres (120 mi) southwest of the Samoas. Its eruptions are currently the deepest observed.’

    Giant Undersea Volcanoes Found Off Antarctica – Mount Fuji-size peaks unexpected, scientists say.

  8. tchannon says:

    Cotopaxi continues gently erupting



    Most Recent Weekly Report: 12 August-18 August 2015

    On 14 August IG reported an earthquake swarm at Cotopaxi that began at 1721 and ended at 1806; the largest event, detected at 1723, was a M 2.7. A series of phreatic explosions on 15 August started with two small ones detected at 0402 and 0407. According to the Washington VAAC, ash plumes rose to altitudes of 12.2-13.7 km (40,000-45,000 ft) a.s.l.; lower parts of the plume drifted E and higher parts drifted SE. Ashfall occurred in areas to the N. IG noted that an explosion at 1027 generated an ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 17.9 km (58,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW and E. A pyroclastic flow descended the W flank. The VAAC initially reported that ash from that event drifted 17 km W, 20 km NNW, and 8 km SE, and that plumes may have risen as high as 15.2 km (50,000 ft) a.s.l. and possibly higher. According to news articles, ashfall was reported in El Chasqui (48 km N), Machachi (22 km NW), Tambillo (32 km NNW), and in areas in S Quito (~45 km N) including Cutuglagua, Guamaní, Chillogallo, Santa Barbara, and Solanda. Parts of the Cotopaxi National Park was closed to visitors.

    During 15-16 August sulfur dioxide emissions were high, and remobilized ash from the W flank rose up to 3.3 km; no ashfall was reported and only minor amounts of a sulfur odor were noted by residents. Ash plumes rose 300 m on 17 August and drifted W; at 1824 an ash emission rose 700 m and drifted W. During times of clear views observers noted that winds pushed ash plumes down the W flank.

    Sources: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), El Comercio

    Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Cotopaxi (Ecuador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 August-18 August 2015. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

  9. tchannon says:

    Been another blip in geomagnetic, any effect on activity?