Not long after a 3-mile-wide asteroid named Toutatis came a tad too close to Earth, a volcano in the Ecuador erupted, causing Mayan Apocalypse myths believers to be even more afraid that doomsday is upon us.
Apparently, the Tungurahua volcano first began displaying signs of seismic activity last week, when relatively small explosions took place and some ash got discharged into the atmosphere through its 16,479-foot (5,023-meter) crater.
However, yesterday marked a full-blown eruption, whose force translated into an ash plume whose peak altitude was one of about 8 kilometers. Gravel and small rock fragments also made their way out of the volcano.
“Ecuador's Geophysical Institute reports that recent explosions at the volcano and ash discharges signify a renewed cycle of activity,” reads OSAC
Furthermore, “As a result, the Secretary of Risk Management has raised its level of alert to 'Orange' (the second highest level), and a voluntary evacuation of people from Cusúa, Juive Grande and Chico as well as some areas of Chimborazo province has been instituted.”
Given the fact that the volcano is located fairly close to the tourist community of Baños, people visiting this part of the Ecuador, as well as locals, were asked to make sure they had masks and gloves at their disposal.
Seeing how Tungurahua's eruption in 2006 resulted in six human victims, and its 1999 eruption led to roughly 15,000 residents being evacuated and not allowed to return to their homes for almost an year, it need not come as a surprise that local authorities are doing their best to implement whatever safety precautions they can.
Ecuador's Geophysical institute promises to keep people informed with respect to how the situation presents itself over the following days. It is to be expected that several other explosions will follow, and that ash emission will continue to build up in the atmosphere.
“If you travel to the area around Tungurahua and the town of Baños, familiarize yourself with evacuation plans, monitor news outlets, use good judgment, and take all appropriate safety measures as volcanic conditions can change rapidly,” OSAC warns.