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Geophysical Institute reports less activity in the Cotopaxi volcano

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Geophysical Institute reports less activity in the Cotopaxi volcano

Photograph of the Cotopaxi volcano from the Valle de los Chillos, this Tuesday, March 21, 2023 in Quito (Ecuador). Photo EFE

The Geophysical Institute (IG) of the National Polytechnic School of Ecuador warned this Tuesday, March 21, 2023 of a consistent decline in the activity of the Cotopaxi volcano, which since the end of last October experienced an eruptive pulse with frequent exhalations of steam, gases and ash.

The IG, in a special report, considered that according to the latest data obtained on the behavior of the volcano, Cotopaxi presents “an eruptive activity of moderate level with downward trend«.

This activity was caused by “the presence of a small magma body inside the volcanic conduit”, responsible for the slight fumes of sulfur dioxide and small ash emissions in the last five months.

At the moment, «there is no evidence that shows the entry of a greater volume of magma towards the superficial system”, remarked the IG in its report.

He added that, based on these data, three possible evolution scenarios are presented, the “most likely” being that the activity will continue with tendency to decrease and there are sporadic emissions of gases and ash that the winds could carry towards the surroundings of the mountain.

A second evolution scenario, “less probable”, may imply a gradual increase in activity with plumes of gases and ash that would reach heights of between 2 and 4 kilometers, with ash fall in areas somewhat further away from the provinces of Pichincha (whose capital is Quito) and neighboring Cotopaxi, where the colossus is located and whose head is the city of Latacunga.

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In the third scenario, “very unlikely”, you can present a rapid increase in activityand surface of the mountain, with eruptive columns of gases and ash 8 kilometers high, with national ash fall and the occurrence of pyroclastic flows (magmatic rocks) and lahars (avalanches due to partial melting of the glacier).

However, the IG insisted that current evidence suggests that the activity of Cotopaxi is “decreasing in intensity consistently.”

The Institute clarified that “natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions sare unpredictable in terms of their magnitude and chronology, so the forecasts are only a guide» for decision-making by the authorities. EFE

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