After a major eruption in 1918, Tungurahua continued with minor
activity until 1925.
Tungurahua is inactive from 1925 to September of 1998.
Scientists at Ecuador's Instituto Geofisico (Geophysical Institute)
monitor the volcano. The seismic network begins to register increased
fracture-type earthquakes beneath Tungurahua.
Tungurahua releases a column of steam thousands of feet into the
air, leading to more earthquakes and increased sulfur emissions.
The Geophysical Institute decides that it is time to go public with
information about Tungurahua's activity.
The Geophysical Institute issues a Yellow Alert based on the detected
increase in seismic activity.
Because of the rapid changes in the volcano, scientists change the
status of the alert from yellow to orange for the most vulnerable
zones on the west and southwest sides of the volcano. The President
of Ecuador comes to Baños to assess the situation.
Scientists at the Geophysical Institute begin to see incandescence,
in addition to increasing seismicity and continuing gas emissions.
These signs indicate that Tungurahua's eruption is imminent.
The President of Ecuador, overreacting to the
orange alert, orders an evacuation. The military forces 25,000 tourists
and residents to evacuate all areas surrounding Tungurahua in a mere
Explosive eruptions begin at Tungurahua on November
first, lasting through November 30 and peaking between November 16
and 25. Ash plumes rise to maximum heights, covering Baños in 0.5
mm of ash.
The displaced residents of Baños respond to news
that soldiers are looting their homes. They violently throw off the
military, later signing a truce with the governor pronouncing that
they voluntarily return to the Baños and that the government is not
responsible for their well-being.
The alert status remains at orange, with continuing
patterns of noisy ash-bearing eruptions, tremor, and elevated seismicity.
Seismic reports show continuous mild activity
with occasional lava fountaining. Explosions dwindle to about one-third
of the frequency with which they occurred in January.
At this point, 80% of Baños' residents have returned
to their homes. The tourism industry has re-established itself as
it was prior to the blasts.
The Tungurahua volcano has gone through a series
of active and dormant periods in recent recorded history.
Using your mouse pointer, select dates on the
timeline below to follow the volcano's activity --in a condensed
format -- from 1773 to the present day.
Throat of Fire
Tungurahua means "throat of fire" in the local language.
1773 saw just one of more than 80 eruptions over the past 3000 years.