2020 eruption of Montaña Blanca

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2020 eruption of Montaña Blanca
CMT time 2020-05-03 10:32:31
Local time 2020-05-03 15:32:31
Magnitude Mw
Epicentre [1]
Areas affected North Antarctica, Qavaqaqqaqqaniitqeqertaq
Casualties 2,761 dead, unknown injured

The 2020 eruption of Montaña Blanca (1684 AN) is a volcanic eruption in progress in North Antarctica, that began on 2 May 2020 with a series of micrasquakes. So far, over 450 people have been killed in the micrasquakes, with no reported casualties from the eruption.

The first micrasquake struck at 6:22 a.m. local time (01:22 CMT) with a magnitude of 5.2 Mw, at a depth of 5.3 kilometres. The epicentre was around 12 kilometres south of Livingston. Two further tremors were felt throughout the day. A fourth micrasquake struck on 3 May 2020, on the eastern coast of North Antarctica. This was the strongest of the micrasquakes, with a magnitude of 6.7 Mw. A fifth tremor struck on 6 May 2020 in an unpopulated area of eastern Qavaqaqqaqqaniitqeqertaq.

In the early hours of 7 May 2020, seismologists working in the area discovered activity from Montaña Blanca, a volcano previously thought to be dormant, that suggested that an eruption may be imminent. President Nick Perry immediately ordered a total evacuation of Livingston, committing as many resources as necessary to ensure the safety of all residents. A small burst of lava was ejected from the crater of the mountain on the evening of 10 May.

On 11 May 2020, an explosion took place, collapsing the south-eastern side of the mountain, and creating a lahar, which destroyed a large portion of north-western Livingston, and reached as far as 50km south. The mountain subsequently exploded violently a week later.

List of micrasquakes

The list contains micrasquakes that were over 3.0 in magnitude. There have been a further 56 micrasquakes below this magnitude.

Event Date Local time (CMT difference) Magnitude (Mw) Epicentre
A 2 May 2020 06:22:25 (+5) 5.2 77°48'09"S 71°12'53"E
B 2 May 2020 17:42:44 (+5) 3.8 77°43'11"S 70°47'24"E
C 2 May 2020 20:37:14 (+4) 4.1 78°26'15"S 69°20'44"E
D 3 May 2020 15:32:31 (+5) 6.7 77°21'53"S 71°28'26"E
E 6 May 2020 13:01:35 (+4) 4.1 78°49'02"S 68°30'04"E
F 8 May 2020 14:28:11 (+5) 5.5 77°46'17"S 71°15'01"E
G 14 May 2020 13:33:12 (+5) 5.8

A map of the largest micrasquakes prior to the eruption.

Main eruption

The mountain exploded violently at around midday on 18 May 2020, propelling ash over 75km high. Due to the collapse of the south-eastern part of the mountain, the explosion was directed towards the cities of Livingston and Murcia. It was estimated to have an intensity of VEI 7. The explosion was so loud that it could be heard more than 4000km away, with the 2020 MHL World Championships match between Floria and Lamantia being temporarily halted due to fears than an explosion had occured at the arena.

Damage

Livingston was completely destroyed in the eruption, with pyroclastic flows reaching as far as northern Murcia.

Casualties

This section is out of date due to recent events

Following the eruption of Montaña Blanca, more than 2,000 people who had not left Livingston were reported to have died.

At least 482 people were killed in the micrasquakes, with a further 3,671 injured, 780 of those being severely injured.

Reactions

Domestic

The President of Mercury, Nick Perry has committed a unspecified amount of resources to help the affected areas rebuild. Following the fourth micrasquake on 3 May, he announced that he would visit Livingston to personally help with disaster relief efforts.

The planned ice hockey friendly between Qavaqaqqaqqaniitqeqertaq and Mercury was cancelled as a result of the micrasquakes.

Following reports that an eruption of Montaña Blanca, situated immediately to the north-west of Livingston, was imminent, the government announced a total evacuation of the city, with transport out of the city provided as well as shelter and sustenance for evacuated residents.

International

  • Confederate States of Floria Confederate States of Floria sent $1.4 million in aid and sent a team of 50 troops to assist distributing supplies after the first Micrasquake. After the following Micrasquakes and the eventual eruption, response teams from the Bureau of Catastrophic Emergency Response were sent to help evacuate residents to Etourney.
  • Imperial Trade Union Imperial Trade Union offered their support and condolences for the lives lost as a result of the earthquake and prepared War League forces, stationed in the Domain of the North Antarctic, mostly unaffected by the earthquakes, to provide assistance. Following the collapse of the Mercurial state in the North Antarctic, the region became a hotbed for political leaders opposed to the current Council of Courts, who traveled here seeking to establish a reformed Pallisican state, free from the influence of Bassaridianism.
  • Palesmenia Palesmenia provided medical equipment and financial aid.
  • Senya Senya offered aid in the form of financial assistance, blankets, medicine and food supplies.
  • Sanama Sanama sent blankets, medicine and food supplies through the Red Sun and Moon Society.
  • Thraci Confederation Thraci Confederation donated Cr 10 million, Red Crescent and Star Society will go to Livingston.