Some 250 people across several communities were evacuated after the Galapagos Islands' Sierra Negra volcano erupted Tuesday, El Universo said.
Environment Minister Tarsicio Granizo said, through a Twitter post, that “a new colossus is awakening.” Tourist and school activities near the volcano have been suspended according to Secretary of Risk Management Alexandra Ocles, who said the eruption is currently moderate.
Sierra Negra volcano crater is one of the largest in the world with a caldera of about nine kilometers long and seven kilometers wide. The volcano is located 1,000 kilometers from the mainland, in Isabela – which has a population of about 2,000.
The Geophysical Institute (IG) reported that a series of earthquakes in the sector of the Sierra Negra volcano had been detected since early Tuesday. The institute said the tremors ranged from a depth of 3-5 kilometers with a maximum Richter scale measurement of 4.6.
In the last 24 hours, about 15 earthquakes have been recorded in the Galapagos area, according to IG seismological records. Government Council of Galapagos President Lorena Tapia said the Emergency Operations Committee (COE) has been activated.
Ten days ago uninhabited Fernandina Island's La Cumbre volcano erupted. However, the Sierra Negra last erupted almost 13 years ago, in October 2005. The Sierra Negra has been showing seismic activity since mid-2016.
The official position of the Galapagos National Park is that officials will not interfere with or relocate animals, flora or fauna in the event of a natural disaster.
The Galapagos Islands are globally known for giant tortoises and iguanas. The archipelago, located 1,000 kilometers west of mainland Ecuador, is formed by a group of 13 islands.