Skip to comments.Ecuador volcano buries farms in ash; 'ready to boil over': expert - Tungurahua
Posted on 07/17/2006 8:31:22 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
QUITO (AFP) - Tungurahua, a volcano in southern Ecuador, erupted for a fourth day, burying thousands of farms in ash and threatening to "boil over" and dump lava on a nearby town, officials said.
Explosions were heard for days, said Geophysical Institute engineer Pablo Samaniego, who compared the volcanic activity to a "pot of milk waiting to boil over at any moment".
Lava threatens to run downhill, toward Banos, with 15,000 residents, he said.
"This has happened before and could affect Banos," he said.
"The town will have to make its decisions" on whether to evacuate," he said.
So far, a four-kilometer (2.5-mile)-high column of ash has done the most damage, affecting some 100,000 people who live on area farms.
"Farmers in the region are losing everything," said Patricio Donoso, president of the chamber of farmers.
"Some 5,000 hectares (12,000 acres) are damaged," he told Teleamazonas television news.
"We need to distribute hay so that the cattle will not die, and help those who are losing everything."
Some 5,500 women, children and elderly people have been evacuated from the area, Civil Defense authorities told AFP.
The volcano is 5,029 meters (16,500 feet) high and 135 kilometers (85 miles) south of Quito. Since Friday it has released lava and a column of ash.
The volcano erupted in a similar fashion in 1918, with six to eight periods of explosive activity sending lava down its sides, Samaniego said.
"We have not seen this phenomenon since then," he told Ecuavisa television.
President Alfredo Palacio visited the area with five ministers and promised 4.9 million dollars for the emergency.
Pyroclastic flows run downhill along the Achupasal ravine on the side of the Tungurahua volcano 16 July, 2006 in southern Ecuador. Tungurahua erupted for a fourth day, burying thousands of farms in ash and threatening to "boil over" and dump lava on a nearby town, officials said.(AFP/Rodrigo Buendia)
Tania Martinez, left, cleans the roof of their house with her mother Silvia Ruiz after the Tungurahua volcano spewed ashes in the village of Pillate, near the Tungurahua volcano, Sunday, July 16, 2006. Some 3,700 people have been evacuated since Friday, when the volcano began expelling toxic gases and at least four lava flows, the first since it became active nearly seven years ago. (AP Photo/Cecilia Puebla.)
Red-hot lava cascades down the slopes of Mayon volcano, about 340 kilometers (212 miles) southeast of Manila, Philippines in its continuing 'mild and quiet' eruption late evening Monday July 17, 2006. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, PHIVOLCS, said the silent, steady flow of lava and debris on the 2,474-meter (8,118-foot) mountain has reached 800 meters (2,624 feet) down the summit but accompanying tremors have eased down to more than 100 overnight but still not ruling out an explosive eruption. (AP Photo/ Bullit Marquez)
Red-hot lava pours down the slopes of Mayon volcano, about 340 kilometers (212 miles) southeast of Manila, Philippines, accompanied by more tremors, for the fourth straight day Monday, July 17, 2006, indicating an explosive eruption may occur soon, scientists said. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, PHIVOLCS, said the silent, steady flow of lava and debris on the 2,474-meter (8,118-foot) mountain, famous for its near-perfect cone, has reached 800 meters (2,624 feet) down the summit since Friday. Scientists recorded 314 tremors in the past 24 hours, significantly higher than 111 tremors the previous day. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)