Eruption of the Tungurahua Volcano in Ecuador

This is what it looks like from the ground April 29th

The Tungurahua Volcano spews ashes during an eruption as seen from Cotalo, Ecuador, Friday, April 29, 2011. The volcano, 136 kilometers, some 85 miles, southeast of Quito, has been active since 1999. Image: Dolores Ochoa

This satellite view of the sulfur dioxide plume is quite vivid:

Eruption of  theTungurahua Volcano in Ecuador

click for hi-res image

The Tungurahua volcano in the South American country of Ecuador began erupting on April 21, 2011, spewing gases and volcanic ash in a plume that extends 125 km west of the summit. This imagery shows the evolution of the volcanic plume since April 21, as detected by the NASA Aura satellite’s OMI sensor. The Ozone Mapping Instrument is able to detect the sulfur dioxide gases associated with volcanic eruptions. The areas with the highest concentration of sulfur dioxide are colored bright yellow. This data is processed and analyzed by the Washington Volcanic Area Advisory Center, operated by NOAA.

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29 thoughts on “Eruption of the Tungurahua Volcano in Ecuador

  1. Now we have a visible reason for the current cooling. Good old sulphur rides to the rescue.

  2. When is Congress going to act to stop these volcanoes? This is utterly unacceptable! See what happens when you burn fossil fuels. Plan on more tornadoes in the NH.

  3. The recent cooling (last year) is caused by La Nina. The question is, is this volcanic explosion strong enough to push SO2 high enough into the atmosphere to exacerbate cooling?

  4. there is a large number of erupting volcanoes at the moment I wonder is anyone adding the total amount of gases spewing out ?

  5. I wonder what our largest H bomb would do to that thing. It would make a nice YouTube video, at least.

  6. Karl says: May 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm
    “The recent cooling (last year) is caused by La Nina.”
    Did La Nina also cool the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, South Pacific, North Pacific and Indian Ocean, and Hudson’s Bay also?
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.gif
    I think the global cooling may have more to do with something much, much, much larger than La Nina in the Eastern equatorial Pacific.

  7. It’s obvious that Ecuador’s glaciers melting………………………
    nah, that’s even too stupid for me to post
    that’s not enough sulfur dioxide to make any difference anyway……….

  8. This volcano has erupted on a fairly regular basis since 7750 BC give or take. http://www.volcanolive.com/tungurahua.html
    Karl asked:
    @ Karl says:
    May 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm
    The recent cooling (last year) is caused by La Nina. The question is, is this volcanic explosion strong enough to push SO2 high enough into the atmosphere to exacerbate cooling?

    Perhaps not the current activity, but that could increase substantially. The eruption in 1918 created a 25km high ash column. And in 2008 two large eruptions pushed ash to 47,000 ft altitude.

  9. The volcano is just about due south of Quito, not southeast. Google Earth shows a plume drifting WSW of the volcano, and a copyright date of 2011, so it may have been updated to show this eruption.
    Might the plume head out over the ENSO ocean band and affect the LaNina ?

  10. Was the eruption caused by the pressure of fossil fuel produce CO2 distorting the earth’s crust, or was the cause simply global warming causing the rocks to melt more easily?

  11. ZT,
    My guess is that it’s a 3rd, unmentioned cause: carbon sequestering by “Big Oil” as they inject CO2 and other gases-of-evil into the ground. Clearly this is causing Mother Gaia to get sick and she is responding with her own defenses…
    /sarc

  12. 1) Is there any data on to what height the SO2 is getting up to (stratospheric or not?) ?
    2) My recollection from a blog post from Joe D’Aleo on ICECAP is that low latitude eruptions (if they get SO2 up into the stratosphere) is that they have a bigger effect on global temps (decreasing) than high lat eruptions but that high lats have a greater tendency to creating blocking patterns & big temp variation in the mid latitudes.

  13. “…or was the cause simply global warming causing the rocks to melt more easily?”
    Now THAT’S funny.

  14. Global Volcanism Program | Volcanoes of the World | Find a Volcano by Eruption Date
    http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/find_eruptions.cfm
    Technical issues have resulted in some uncertainty about the reliability of the data on this page. The issue is being investigated and is expected to be resolved in early May 2011.
    What the HECK is up with that? They are so sloppy it is really frustrating! My take is that in a few hundred years some people with brains (finally) will look back at 1991 Pinatubo and Cerro Hudson and say this was the signal of it all. Because since then, particularly since 1995 the eruption numbers and VEI volumes have consistently gone up. Then the sun went to ever longer and deeper minimums. Brrrr, I hope not. I am more of a believer in geologist reconstructions of past climates (ice ages which had really wild swings in both directions) than agenda driven climate heads.

  15. on the assumption that it continues to erupt for a while we can make a reasonable prediction…
    ‘More cooling on the way!’
    Whats the betting that in a few months, with all the averaging/gridding, etc – the recent (and likely to continue) global cooling gets blamed on this sole event by the Team ?

  16. I would like La Nina to hang around a bit longer. but if this helps keep it raining in aus, I dont mind, too many dry years to complain re rain now.
    and if this cools us off more, well the agw fools will look sillier than they do now.

  17. jorgekafkazar says:
    May 1, 2011 at 8:04 pm
    How much CO2 is coming up with the SO2?
    I’m with you, Jorge – in particular, will enough CO2 be thrown into the atmosphere to “bump” up the global CO2 load? If so, by how many ppm?
    Should throw us into runaway AGW…. Oh, wait…

  18. 30,000′ is the max reported height of ash ejections.
    “gas” is estimated to be 1000 tonnes/day

  19. Very nice Triff . . . . would it be to far fetched to say . . . many caves have been formed this way . . . . ??
    And since you are a student I would ask . . . besides So2 can we tell if stuff like Clorine gets released?

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