December 17, 2012 – Ecuador’s Tungurahua Volcano Erupts: ECUADOR has issued an orange alert – the second-highest warning level – for towns near the Tungurahua volcano, as its level of activity rose, civil defense officials say.
The area of the warning covers the adjacent provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo, according to the national civil defense agency.
Greater activity has been building since Wednesday, along with a slight increase in gas emissions from the 5,029 meter (16,495 feet) volcano, located about 135 km (83 miles) south of the capital Quito, the Geophysical Institute said (see map below).
Eruptions at Tungurahua, which means “Throat of Fire” in the indigenous Quechua language, peaked in 2006, killing six people in a Chimborazo village.
Areas in Ecuador’s Quito region (see map above) have been evacuated as the Tungurahua volcano continues to erupt. Authorities have been forced into making plans to evacuate residents of Ecuador’s Banos region as the Tungurahua volcano continues to vent. Local cities and farms have been covered in volcanic ash as the eruptions show no signs of abating.
Several communities near Tungurahua, including the tourist town of Banos with 15,000 people (pictured above), also were forced to evacuate during the volcano’s violent eruption in 1999.
The Master of Disaster