Cotapaxi silent after eruption, President Rafael Correa declares state of emergency

By @vitthernandez on
Cotopaxi Volcano Eruption
The Cotopaxi volcano spews ash and smoke in Machachi, Ecuador, August 14, 2015. Ecuador's massive Cotopaxi volcano stirred in the early hours of Friday, with two small explosions reported and ash raining down on the southern part of nearby highland capital Quito. Authorities stressed that the explosions and a five-kilometer (3 mile) high plume of ash do not signify that the Andean country's highest active volcano, which has been showing signs of activity since April, is about to erupt. Reuters

Cotopaxi is now silent after belching ash and dust eight kilometres into the sky on Saturday, prompting Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa to declare a state of emergency.

The state of emergency is up to 60 days. It grants the Correa the power to deploy the military and police for security and to free financial resources for relief work. The powers include censorship of communications about the volcano, including in social media.

After the eruption, which happened after 138 years of hibernation, the government restricted access to the park that surrounds Cotopaxi, stopping mountaineers from going up the peak. Meanwhile, residents from villages near the volcano fled their homes because of the ashfall and danger from moving rocks and mud flows.

Following the silence of Cotopaxi, residents of Lasso village took the opportunity to resume their activities – a start contrast from the sirens and calls for the residents of Cotopaxi, Napo and Pichincha provinces, estimated at one million, to temporarily evacuate their homes, reports NDTV.

A 2014 study, published in the journal Terra Nova, found a link between the large changes in the Earth’s spin since the late 19th century to the spate of volcanic activities, specifically eruptions, in different parts of the world. Other volcanoes that recently erupted are Raung in East Java, Sakurajima in Kyushu this year, 2015, and volcanoes in Hawaii, Alaska, Italy and Iceland in 2014, reports Christian Science Monitor.

Robin Wylie, a postdoctoral researcher in volcanology at the University College of London, said in The Conversation that changes in the Earth’s rotation dissipate about 120,000 petajoules of energy yearly, which transfers the energy into the Earth’s atmosphere and subsurface.

However, other scientists blame the eruptions on climate change. According to a 2012 study, published in the journal Geology, rising temperatures melt glaciers and causes pressure in continents to drop. Increased pressure from rise in sea levels also affect parts of the Earth’s crust under the ocean. But another study in Iceland said less pressure on the Earth’s surface results in softer, more molten subsurface, making it easier for magma chambers to reach the surface and cause eruptions.

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