Enhanced volcanic activity in South America: Sabancaya, Ticsani, Ubinas, Nevados de Chillan and Hudson on alert

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Since the middle of this month, South American volcanoes have let off some spectacular ash puffs into the air…

And this is only the beginning…

In Perú

The Peruvian Sabancaya volcano has entered a new phase of activity since early November as it has produced dozens of explosive eruptions since November 6, 2016. This first explosion generated an M3.6 earthquake, ash reached 1.5-3.5 kilometers (4,900-11,400 feet) over the volcano and ashfall was reported over 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the volcano. The ash plumes (see below) have been some of the highest ever recorded at Sabancaya.

All signs still point to continued likelihood of explosive eruptions. This continued threat means that a state of emergency has been declared across 23 districts around Sabancaya due to this ash hazard for the next 60 days.

Ticsani has been experiencing earthquakes over the past few months, suggesting that magma is moving into the volcano. Harmonic tremor, a sure sign of magma movement, has increased over the past few weeks. The only known eruption of Ticsani was in ~1800 A.D.

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sabancaya eruption on November 22, 2016

Ubinás has also had an eventful 2016, with numerous explosions from Peru’s most active volcano. Since the start of November, there have been numerous earthquakes, tremor and some explosions that sent ash ~1.5 km (4,900 feet) over the volcano. Most probably new magma rising into the volcano.

In Chile

Further south, an explosive eruption on November 17 occurred at Nevados de Chillán that sent ash 1.2 kilometers (3,900 feet) over the volcano. Nevados de Chillán remains at Yellow alert status.

On November 17, the Copahue volcano exploded twice, frightening locals living in its close proximity. However, the SERNAGEOMIN decided to maintain the alert level at Yellow.

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Copahue eruption on November 23, 2016. Sernageomin

Meanwhile, M3.6 earthquake shook Hudson in southern Chile. The SERNAGEOMIN thinks the earthquake was related to fluid movement within the volcano. The last eruption from Hudson was in 2011 and the 1991 eruption was a VEI 5, one of the largest of the 20th century.

So may be facing three dramatic eruptions at Hudson, Ubinas and Ticsani in the next weeks or months.

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