The Secretariat of Risk Management of Ecuador today declared a state of “yellow alert” in the area of influence of the eruption of the Sierra Negra volcano, on Isabela Island, in the Galapagos archipelago.
The Secretariat of Risk Management, in its resolution, states that the Emergency Operations Committee (COE) Galapagos, composed of several institutions remain on alert and able to perform immediate operations if the situation so requires.
As a preventive measure, 50 inhabitants of nearby areas were evacuated and welcomed to foster families, according to the National Communication Secretariat (Secom).
“The Galapagos National Park continues with its tourist activities, except for the sectors near the Sierra Negra volcano,” added the Secom.
In addition, the SGR ordered the institutions involved to implement the contingency plans and keep the Secretariat informed of events that may occur around the Sierra Negra volcano.
For the moment, the president of the Governing Council of the Special Regime of Galapagos, Lorena Tapia, confirmed in social networks that people living near the volcano were evacuated.
“It’s eruption is a natural spectacle that is being monitored technically and permanently,” added Tapia.
The Sierra Negra, located in the south of Isabela Island, the largest and western Galápagos archipelago, erupted after detecting an increase in seismic activity, according to the Geophysical Institute (IG) of the National Polytechnic School.
Also, the increase in the reception of signals in the infrasound microphones installed in that volcano show that “it is probable that it is initiating an eruptive process,” Mario Ruiz, IG researcher, told Efe.
On the behavior of the volcano, Ruiz said that “the most likely scenario is that there will be lava emissions that move to the interior of the caldera and to the north of the volcano,” areas that are currently covered by volcanic material from previous eruptions.
The Sierra Negra has presented an important seismic activity since mid-2016, but in recent days increased that behavior, which the IG considered as a precursor of an eruptive process.
The activity of this volcano was added to the one that was presented some days ago in the volcano La Cumbre, of Fernandina Island, neighbor of Isabela that emitted lava flows that reached the seashore.
Fernandina is an uninhabited island, although it hosts an autochthonous fauna made up of land and marine iguanas, endemic rodents, snakes, penguins and finches.
The Galápagos are located about 1,000 kilometers west of the continental coasts of Ecuador and are formed by thirteen islands that have several volcanic buildings, the most important in Isabela and Fernandina.
In Isabela there are volcanoes Wolf, Darwin, Alcedo, Cerro Azul and Sierra Negra, while Fernandina is home to the volcano of the same name (Fernandina), also known as La Cumbre. (I)