Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador erupted powerfully and explosively on Friday (April 4, 2014), sending a 6-mile (10-km) column of ash skyward. AP reports that the initial five-minute explosion shot hot gas and rock onto the volcano’s northern and northwestern flanks and that a second, four-minute explosions and five lesser tremors followed.
According to AP, Ecuador’s geophysics institute said Friday’s blast occurred at 6:10 p.m. local time.
Tungurahua is from the Quichua word tunguri (throat) and rahua (fire): “Throat of Fire.”
Tungurahua volcano is an active stratovolcano. This type of volcano is built up by many layers (strata) of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. Unlike shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes are characterized by periodic explosive eruptions and quiet eruptions.
Tungurahua been erupting periodically since 1999. Its eruptions have been ongoing since 2013, with several major eruptions since then, the last one prior to yesterday’s starting on February 1 of this year. AP reports that the 2014 eruptions of this volcano have affected a third of Ecuador’s provinces and temporarily closed a regional airport.
In 2006, a pyroclastic cloud from Tungurahua killed four people and left two missing.
Bottom line: A five-minute explosion from Tungurahua volcano on April 4, 2014 shot hot gas and rock 6 miles (10 km) into the air. More explosions and tremors followed.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.