Sunday, December 05, 2010

New Moon Volcanic Eruption Ecuador

Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano erupted Saturday, December 4 2010, sending ash and lava a mile into the sky. This volcano in Central Ecuador began to show increasing activity on November 22, ejecting volcanic blocks (rock fragments) from the summit. As reported on USGS Weekly: Satellite imagery on 29 November showed an increase in sulfur dioxide concentrations around the volcano.

In Quechua, the Native South American language, Tungurahua means 'throat of fire'. This stratovolcano - over 16,000 feet high - began its approximately 100 year eruption cycle in 1999, melting the small mountaintop glacier. The volcano has been active with ongoing periodic eruptions since then.

Timing (time of year/seasons) and circumstance play a part in volcanic upheavals and the effects they will have on weather patterns. This current zone of activity, happening in the winter months of the Earth's orbit, is the 'danger zone'. The planet may be facing a prolonged series of extended volcanic activity in the years ahead before any of this quietens down again.

The most recent series of eruptions in volcanic active regions of the world have been in less densely populated mountainous areas than, say Italy. From observing the increase and timing of quite violent eruptions, I would surmise that Etna or Vesuvius could potentially become just as spectacular as Mount Merapi in Indonesia. Even more so with Mount Fuji in Japan. Similarly, Iceland's Eyjafjallajökul or Katla eruptions could have an equally spectacular affect because the ash drifts across much of continental Europe.

Mount Etna is overdue for an eruption if the earlier pattern of Vulcanology is anything to go by. Preceding patterns of Etna's eruptions listed on the USGS 'Global Volcanism Program' site, reveals the last activity was in May 2008: "6-km-long lava flow; ash emissions; 13 May 2008 opening of a new eruptive fissure". The last 2 year no-activity phase was 1972-1973, after which Etna began a lengthy but gentle series of activity until May 2008:

12/1971 (CSLP 33-71)
Periodic explosions from La Voragine crater
02/1974 (CSLP 20-74)
W-flank eruption rapidly builds cone; explosions and lava flows

Many of the volcanoes erupting now, between November/October 2010 and February/March 2011, are known as 'active volcanoes'.. and my theory is that when you put these active volcanoes together with seasonal timing of the eruptions you have the potential for catastrophic devastation depending on the position of the Earth's orbit when the volcanoes erupt.

Apart from letting off steam and releasing pressure from deeper activity around the Earth's layered fault lines - volcanoes stimulate the forces of life on Earth. They are 'bringers of death' and they are also the 'givers of life'. They breathe life into the atmosphere, they fertilize the soil and sometimes they even create Islands in the sea.

The new cycle of erupting volcanoes are relieving pressure and stress from within the Earth, as we are definitely entering a new zone of the planet's volcanic activity. It has been relatively quiet down here on this planet in terms of volcanic devastation over the last 200 years or so.. but things are heating up again (as is part of the natural cycle). Apart from the danger and destruction, it is fascinating how life is sustained under pressure by these fiery giants.