Saturday, October 21, 2006
Ecuador suffers from more volcanic activity
The upper slopes of the volcano have been mostly deserted since August, but according to Salazar about 80 families had returned to attempt to farm in the ash-encrusted ground.
"They saw incandescent rocks coming down on the slopes and so they evacuated" he said. No injuries were reported. In addition to the casualties, nearly 5,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged and tens of thousands of acres of pasture and crops were also destroyed in the August eruption, according to the Ecuadorian Civil Defence.
In Quito experts warned about renewed explosions and eruptions from the Tungurahua.
"What we have seen now is evidence that something there could be something similar to the episodes in July and August" said Hugo Yepes, director of Ecuador's Geophysics Institute. "Inside the ground there is a chamber of magma much larger than the volcano itself.".
Meanwhile further south along the Pacific rim, a strong earthquake rattled Peru's coast on Friday, but no damage or injuries were reported. The magnitude 6.4 quake struck at 5:48 a.m. below the floor of the Pacific Ocean, some 95 kilometres northwest of the coastal city of Pisco, according to Peru's Geophysics Institute.
The earthquake was felt as a long shudder in the Peruvian capital, Lima, and inland in the Andean provincial city of Huancavelica. But it caused the most alarm in Ica, a coastal city 260 kilometres to the southeast, where local radio reports said panicked residents rushed from their homes into streets and parks.