Cotopaxi , Equateur : the glacier area has experienced rapid melting.

Cotopaxi , Equateur : the glacier area has experienced rapid melting.

On January 26, 2016, with the logistical support of an aircraft of MICS, a survey was held from Tababela airport to the Cotopaxi volcano with a Twin Otter aircraft FAE (452), commanded by Captain Urquizo.

Visual observations:
The conditions under which the flight took place were very favorable, because the volcano was completely uncovered and on the other hand, the high cloud cover remained on the volcano most of the time, so there was no solar radiation effect on the volcano for thermal imaging. During the approach the volcano, it was observed that the crater emitted a small column of water vapor, pulsating, which mostly remained within the crater, sometimes not exceeding more than 500 meters over well top and finally moving to the west .

Since the volcano was quite clear, it was confirmed once again what we observed in the past, the presence of water and humidity from contact areas of the tongues of all the glaciers in the area, these forming thin streams of water that descend downstream by the ravines of the volcano flanks, which can lead to the generation of small lahars (fig. 2). This time, it was obvious that, due to the increase in melting ice, we are witnessing the formation of cracks fractures all over the ice cap, but which are particularly sensitive to any glaciers front areas  .

Resumen de las observaciones efectuadas durante el vuelo al volcán Cotopaxi del día 26 de enero de 2016

 a view of the glaciers of the South left flank, completely cracked (Photo: P. Ramón IG / EPN).

On the upper east side, it was observed that the glacier area has experienced rapid melting, which led the fall of materials deposited on the top to the lower glacier, which therefore now has a dark color. It should be noted that this material was not present before, during observations of the flight of December 15, the ash fall has not occurred in this region of the volcano  .

Resumen de las observaciones efectuadas durante el vuelo al volcán Cotopaxi del día 26 de enero de 2016

  East side of Glacier; melting glaciers from the top edge of the crater causes detachment of rock material on the lower glacier, so it appears dark. (Photo: P. Ramón IG / EPN).

Thermal monitoring:
Good weather helped to measure the temperature of most thermal anomalies identified on the volcano. It was not noted major changes inside the crater in relation to that observed in November. Due to water vapor emissions during the observation (TMA), temperature measurements in the crater, 51.9 ° C that have been observed, are lower than the actual value.

As regards fields fumarole it was determined that the TMA values ??are mostly similar or lower than those measured on 15 January, except for slightly higher values ??measured on the south side, inner crater Anillo Arena Internal , Yanasacha, Glacier Circular , low Fumarola from North Summit. Contrary to what was observed at the end of September 2015, the fumaroles activity in most areas no longer generates precipitation of mineral deposition and possibly sulfur (greenish).
During this overview again, it was possible to identify thermal anomalies in areas were deposited materials of the upper parts of the outer crater reworked, particularly on the east and southeast flanks. These areas have reached a TMA value of 14.7 ° C. It should be noted that the entire upper half of the glacier is covered by these products, helping the melting process on the glacier, decreasing albedo .

February 16, 2016. Cotopaxi , Equateur :

Source et Photos : IG/EPN

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