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Posts Tagged ‘Isabela Island’

La Cumbre Volcano Erupts

Posted by feww on April 12, 2009

La Cumbre in Galapagos Islands erupts after 4 years of dormancy

La Cumbre volcano on Fernandina Island on Saturday began spewing smoke and gas into the air with lava flowing into the sea, the Galapagos National Park (PNG) said.

The uninhabited Fernandina is the most volcanically active island in the Galapagos archipelago. La Cumbre had previously erupted in May 2005.

PNG does not expect the eruption to affect people living on nearby Isabela Island, the largest in the archipelago (see map below).

Aerial photo of the eruption of the La Cumbre volcano in Fernandina island, Galapagos Archipelago, Ecuador dated April 11, 2009. It’s feared that the eruption could affect the archipelagos fauna, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978,
the Galapagos National Park (PNG) said. Photo: PNG.

Galápagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands located  in the Pacific Ocean near  the equator about 1,000km west of continental Ecuador. The Galapagos are home to unique flora and fauna including marine and terrestrial iguanas, wolves, the Galapagos tortoise and other wildlife. [Image credit: Indolences ]

The Galapagos archipelago were added to the list of endangered world heritage in 2007 mainly because of the threat from  tourism.

La Cumbre Volcano

  • Country: Ecuador
  • Region:  Galápagos Islands
  • Volcano Type:  Shield volcano
  • Previous Known Eruption: 2005
  • Summit Elevation: 1,476 m (4,842 feet)
  • Latitude: 0.37°S (0°22’0″S)
  • Longitude: 91.55°W (91°33’0″W)

(Source: Global Volcanism Program, GVP)

Dust clouds rise from Fernandina [syn: La Cumbre] caldera on July 4, 1968, about three weeks after a major explosive eruption that was followed by collapse of the caldera floor. Collapse occurred incrementally and asymmetrically, ranging up to about 350 m at the SE end of the caldera, which contains the caldera lake. Fernandina, the most active of Galápagos volcanoes and the one closest to the Galápagos mantle plume, is a basaltic shield volcano with a deep 5 x 6.5 km summit caldera. The volcano displays the classic “overturned soup bowl” profile of Galápagos shield volcanoes. Its caldera is elongated in a NW-SE direction and formed during several episodes of collapse. Circumferential fissures surround the caldera and were instrumental in growth of the volcano. Reporting has been poor in this uninhabited western end of the archipelago, and even a 1981 eruption was not witnessed at the time. In 1968 the caldera floor dropped 350 m following a major explosive eruption. Subsequent eruptions, mostly from vents located on or near the caldera boundary faults, have produced lava flows inside the caldera as well as those in 1995 that reached the coast from a SW-flank vent. Collapse of a nearly 1 cu km section of the east caldera wall during an eruption in 1988 produced a debris-avalanche deposit that covered much of the caldera floor and absorbed the caldera lake. Photo by Tom Simkin, 1968 (Smithsonian Institution). Caption: GVP.

Lava fountains from Fernandina volcano in the Galápagos Islands feed digitate lobes of lava in 1978 that travel across a down-dropped block of the NW caldera bench, about 380 m below the caldera rim. The 1978 eruption began on August 8, when a 6-km-high eruption cloud was visible from distant locations in the archipelago, and apparently ended on August 26. During the course of the eruption lava flows traveled 2 km into the caldera lake, more than 400 m below. Photo by Marc Orbach, 1978 (courtesy of Tom Simkin, Smithsonian Institution). Caption: GVP.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite
captured the above image of La Cumbre Volcano on Isla Fernandina on April 11, 2009 (released at the speed of light on April 14, 2009). The true-color image shows Isla Fernandina and Isla Isabela. The red outline on Isla Fernandina is a hotspot where MODIS detected unusually hot surface temperatures.  NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid (really?) Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott. Instrument: Terra – MODIS

La Cumbre  remained active on April 12, 2009, as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua passed overhead. According to the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency, the volcano experienced continuous ash and steam emissions. Compared to the image acquired the previous day (TOP), this image shows a much smaller red-outlined hotspot of anomalously warm surface temperatures. NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid (!) Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott. Instrument:  Aqua – MODIS

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