Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Last summer, I took a grad level volcano geophysics class in Ecuador! It was the most fantastic volcanic experience I've ever had. We installed seismic and infrasound instruments on the flanks of Tungurahua volcano while it was exploding, rumbling and roaring overhead! We spent a week traveling in Ecuador to other active volcanoes, some of which we climbed (Guagua Pichincha, Reventador, part of Cotopaxi), while our instruments worked for us collecting data on Tungurahua. Then we collected and analyzed the data, some of which has now been presented at the annual AGU meeting. We even got to see a volcanic lahar (mudflow the consistency of wet concrete) while on the mountain, which is a very rare event to witness! Ecuador is a fantastically beautiful country, lush, green and a volcanologists heaven! The town of Banos where we stayed for two weeks is a hotsprings resort town, with TONS of things for the outdoor enthusiast to enjoy: biking, horseback riding, waterfall rapelling, canyoning, four-wheeling, hiking and volcano watching. The town is at the foot of Tungurahua, which is a potentially deadly threat to the surrounding communities. For this reason it is highly instrumented and monitored by the Ecuadorian Instituto Geophysico in Quito and there is a special observatory in a nearby valley with round-the-clock scientific observation. This is an amazing place, if you like volcanoes at all, try to take a vacation in this town, it is wonderful!