On the evening of Sept. 1, the Ubinas Volcano in Moquegua registered two small eruptions.
A third eruption occurred the following day, and now the volcano has errupted twice more, bringing the total to five eruptions in less than 48 hours. A number of news outlets have reported that the volcano’s sudden burst of activity has caused alarm in the area, which has been intensified by the appearance of a column of volcanic gases and ash that has reached a height of two kilometers. Now scientists have begun an investigation at the site to determine the exact cause of the eruptions.
Andina news agency reports that a team from the Volcanological Observatory of the Institute (OVI) of Geology, Mining, and Metallurgy has arrived in the area and scaled the mountain to search the crater site for clues as to its cause. Jersey Mariño Salazar, head of the OVI team, told Andina: “We have two hypotheses right now, and in the coming days, through evaulations that we’re doing, we’ll find out what’s really going on with Ubinas.”
He said that the explosions are probably being caused by one of two things: either the eruptions are phreatic, caused by precipitation buildup causing pressure inside the volcano, or they are caused by an “eruptive process generated by rising magma.”
According to Andina, the column of ash has deposited residue up to 10 kilometers away from Ubinas. However, Mariño Salazar stated that the ash column does not pose a danger to people or livestock at this time, as the wind is blowing it towards a mostly uninhabited area. Still, Salazar may meet with local authorities on Sept. 4 in order to discuss any necessary actions.