Sunday 29 December 2013

Thousands evacuated after eruption on Mount Chaparrastique, El Salvador.

Authorities in El Salvador have evacuated around 5000 people from a 3 km exclusion zone around Mount Chaparrastique, a volcano in the east of the country, following an explosive eruption at about 10.30 am local time (4.30 pm GMT) on Sunday 29 December 2013 that produced an ash column 5 km high and rained ash on nearby towns and coffee plantations.

Ash column over Mount Chaparrastique on 29 December 2013, seen from the city of San Miguel, about 15 km to the northeast of the volcano. AFP.

El Salvador, and neighbouring Central American states, lies on the Caribbean Plate. To the south of Central America the Coccos Plate, which underlies an area of the east Pacific, is being subducted beneath the Caribbean Plate along the Middle American Trench. As the plate is subducted it is partially melted by the friction and the heat of the planet's interior, giving rise to liquid magma which rises through the Caribbean Plate to fuel the volcanoes of Central America.

The approximate location of Mount Chaparrastique. Google Maps.

See also Eruption on Mount Telica, NicaraguaPyroclastic flow and ash column on Mount Fuego, GuatemalaSeismic activity on Mount Momotombo in western NicaraguaMagnitude 6.2 Earthquake beneath Guatemala and Eruption on Mount Pacaya.

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