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2020 eruption of Pico de Sangue
Pinatubo 1991-06-29 Pyroclastic flow deposits of Marella River Valley.jpg
Pyroclastic flow runs down the southern cliff of Pico de Sangue, 16 September 2020
Start dateSeptember 15, 2020
End dateOctober 8, 2020
LocationPico de Sangue, Vasconha Town, Demora Province, Maracao
Impactlarge scale loss of life, mass destruction of property, significant economic devastation
Deaths40,000–80,000 (est.)
PdS eruption ash.png
Map detailing the quantity of ash fallout due to the eruption across Asterias Superior and Inferior

The 2020 eruption of Pico de Sangue occurred at the the Pico de Sangue volcano in central Maracao between September 15 and October 8, 2020. The phreatomagmatic eruption measured a 6 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, the largest in modern Maracan history and one of the largest eruptions recorded in recent years. Over the course of 23 days, large scale destruction across Maracao occurred as a direct result of the eruption, including pyroclastic flows, lahars, and extensive volcanic plumes that massively disrupted economic activity across the entire Arucian. With around 40,000 to 80,000 casualties estimated as a direct result of the eruption, including nearly 25,000 when Guajaratuba was hit by a pyroclastic flow, it is the deadliest natural disaster in recent Asterian history. The disaster was followed by a transnational aid effort that included contributions from the AIS, ASTCOM, COMSED, the Euclean Community, NVO, ROSPO as well as contributions by CoN-affiliated aid commissions.

Widespread economic disruption arose from large-scale deposits of fine ash that were blown across the Arucian Sea. Among the worst affected countries were Maracao itself, Imagua and the Assimas, Aucuria, Sainte-Chloé, Nuvania and Eldmark. Disruption to trade and tourism was extensive from flights that were grounded for almost a month, and sea-based travel was also made less frequent due to the ash. Agriculture suffered as livestock were killed by ash inhalation and consumption, and the region entered a large-scale economic recession following the eruption. Production of tropical goods such as tobacco, citrus, bananas, pineapples, avocadoes, mangoes, nuts and chilis declined for months after the eruption. Maracao's real GDP growth for 2020 was the lowest since the Sugar Crash, and in much of the Arucian it was the most significant recession since the 2005 global financial crisis.

Prelude to the eruption

Over 100,000 people left the city of Mivaqueiro in the days leading up to the eruption.

On August 28, scientists and seismologists studying the volcano at the Instituto Maracense de Metereologia (IMM) in Porto Leste published a report showing that seismic activity at the volcano had been rapidly increasing since June, with over 300 recorded earthquakes, "seismic shocks" and other notable geological occurrences had been happening multiple kilometres below the volcano's crater[1]. These earthquakes were recorded between 0.5 and 2 on the Richter scale, Ferronio de Lima, who led the IMM's scientific inquiry into the seismic activity at the volcano, noted that it was the most activity they had seen at the mountain since the IMM commenced operations in 1990[1]. Lisandro Cerqueira, who was also involved in the reports, mentioned that there was "reasonable concern"[1] with the eruption, and encouraged evacuation efforts to begin as soon as possible.

Two days later, professor Marcelo Moreira published a subsequent article on Adiante, Maracao's state-funded media network, outlining the characteristics of Pico de Sangue's eruption in 1912. He strongly stressed the possibility of a destructive phreatomagmatic eruption[2], and warned the Revolutionary Congress that evacuation efforts should begin "immediately". On September 2, Adão Costa urged all residents of the cities of Mivaquiero and Guajaratuba to leave their residencies temporarily and seek refuge elsewhere in the country due to the eruption risk in the area. Despite his strongly-worded statement, Costa did not send authorities to the area to oversee the evacuation, instead relying on their citizens' own volition to leave the area. Of the 220,000 who lived in Mivaqueiro, over 86,000 had relocated by September 5, mainly to the towns of Piquiri, Uvaia, Turuçu, Tapecu, Quieto, Camuca and Surra, and the cities of Nova Casa, São João, Sanceriz and the capital Porto Leste. The significantly poorer residents of Guajaratuba, many of whom made livelihoods on the arable and fertile land at the volcano's base, chose to stay in the town, and others' evacuations were hindered by the poor infrastructure that connected the area, in many places only dirt roads. In many of these towns, sports stadiums were used as temporary refugee camps as the government struggled to adequately and uniformly relocate the some 100,000 people that had evacuated from high-risk areas.

As well as producing statements to the congress on the risk of the eruption, Moreira also outlined the risk of toxic gas emitted from the volcano[2] during the eruption being a deadly hazard, urging that the possibility of pyroclastic flow was not the only risk that settlements near the volcano risked. In response, the Presidium unanimously voted to send a shipment of 50,000 gas masks to Mivaqueiro and Guajaratuba in the event of widespread gas presence.

Escalation and eruption

On September 9, preliminary eruptions and ash emissions began at the volcano, signalling the main eruption was nearby. The IMM and the government reiterated the urgent need for residents of the cities to relocate elsewhere. On September 15 at 10:15am local time[3], Pico de Sangue began erupting, shooting lava pillars over 150 metres high and releasing ash multiple kilometres into the atmosphere[3], immediately grounding all flights in and out of Maracao. Flights scheduled to land in the country were rerouted to other countries in the area, with airports in Imagua and the Assimas and Satucin receiving the most redirected traffic. Shortly after, a multitude of other countries suspended flights to and from their airspace on account of the massive ash presence the eruption had brought, and began the process of evacuating their citizens from the danger zones[4][5][6][7][8].

The large amounts of magma emitted during the eruption eroded the structural integrity of the surface rock, forming a large caldera at the peak of the mountain.

Immediately after the eruption, the Presidium enacted a state-of-emergency, dissolving the Revolutionary Congress and assuming directorial power. The IMM reiterated their concern over the presence of pyroclastic flows caused by high levels of interaction between water, magma, and the debris near the volcano, which would carry flows tens of metres deep and travelling at hundreds of miles per hour down the side of the volcano. At 11:19am, the IMM predicted the eruption to be a 5 or 6 on the VEI, making it the largest eruption in the recorded history of the mountain and the largest in the Asterias since the 17th century. IMM equipment, including seismographs, located around the volcano (mainly in Mivaqueiro) were broken, prohibiting the institute from making accurate initial observations from the eruption.

In response to the eruption, Supreme Leader Adão Costa addressed the nation on radio and television, emphasising unity and their "duty to provide and assist for their fellow countrymen"[3].

Earthquakes accompanied and followed the eruption, on September 26, an earthquake of 5.1 magnitude caused significant damage to small settlements around the epicentre, and was one of the biggest earthquakes recorded in Maracao since 1950. The eruption saw the creation of a new caldera at the summit of the volcano, now named Lake Kairi from the Natí name for the mountain.

Effects and aftermath

Ash clouds

Effects on aircraft

Effects on agriculture

Pyroclastic flows

Local economic devastation

Destruction of buildings in Maracao


Environmental effects

Economic impact by country


The economy of Aucuria was severely disrupted by the Pico de Sangue eruption as a result of the country's proximity to Maracao. Much of Aucuria's most arable farmland is located along the country's coastal plain, which saw sustained ashfall because of the eruption; this ashfall resulted in the death or contamination of a large number of food and cash crops, and, shortly following the eruption, Minister of Agriculture Jonas Sutkus declared those crops which had not already been harvested before September 15 to be "a near-total loss". Aucurian animal husbandry was less severely affected, as the grazing lands in the country's pakraščiai region were less affected by ashfall, but a still-noticeable impact was reported by many farmers and agricultural companies; in particular, many highlighted that the eruption had resulted in the loss of crops used as fodder, driving up prices and forcing some farmers to cull portions of their herds. The near-month-long disruption of air travel also had a serious effect on the Aucurian economy.

The economic disruption caused by the eruption caused Aucuria to enter an economic recession and, with 23% and 11% of the Aucurian workforce employed by agriculture and tourism, respectively, jeopardized the livelihoods of nearly a third of Aucuria's working-age population. In response, the government of Petras Uspelevičius moved to provide rescue packages for affected industries, offering more than $TBD billion total; additionally, it announced it would be providing "survival checks" to farmers affected by the eruption, aiming to prevent the foreclosure of small family farms.


The regional economies of Vanö, Gränsland, and Aruciastad were greatly altered by the eruption, burying close to 600 square kilometres of farm and pasture land in ash[8], killing X acres of tobacco, rice, and sugar, and also leading to X deaths of cattle, poultry, and pork, among other livestock and crops. Direct damage from the volcano itself was minimal, manifesting only in some broken windows in Knuten and the surrounding area, due to the shockwave. Vanö's proximity to Maracao and Pico de Sangue made it receive the most damage from the ashfall, with the second tobacco harvest of the year being considered a total loss by the Office of Agriculture. Flights to and from the island province proved difficult, hampering aid efforts from the mainland, practically ending the tourist season for a month, and causing Defence Director Rex Xiandani to call in the Navy to lead evacuation and island resupply efforts. However, Prime Minister Tyra Brahe has committed to aid Maracao and Imagua "in occurence with the official NVO humanitarian response."

The eruption has made its way into the discourse surrounding the 2021 Riksdag Elections, with parties divided on the appropriate route for domestic aid, with the coalition government focused on revitalizing the agriculture and tourism industries in affected areas, while opposition parties such as the AFP and the LV crossbenchers leaning towards direct stimulus payment to affected citizens, with a comprehensive plan to rebuild and replace the crumbling infrastructure on the island.

Imagua and the Assimas

The Imaguan economy was severely damaged due to Imagua's close proximity to the Pico de Sangue, as agriculture was damaged due to sustained ashfall, greatly affecting farms in the northern parts of Imagua and the Assimas[4], as well as to a lesser extent in the southern parts of the country. It was estimated that the entire harvest in the parishes of Saint Isidore's Parish and Saint Fiacre's Parish was "an economic total loss," while most grazing land in the northern plain was also substantially affected by the ashfall. As Imaguan airspace was closed for nearly a month, Imagua's tourism sector was greatly damaged, which was exacerbated by the requisition of Imaguan Maritime Service ferries to evacuate foreign nationals from Imagua to Eldmark or Aucuria[7].

This led to a decrease in economic growth in the third quarter by 18%, and this led to a jeopardization of around a third of the country's jobs, as around 30% are imployed in the tourist sector, or in jobs dependent on it, and 2.5% are employed in agriculture. This led to the government of Douglas Egnell pledging to bail out agricultural and tourist businesses, to ensure that "all will be able to maintain their jobs."








  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 De Lima, Cerqueira, Antunes, Peres, Sá, et al., "Seismologists at the IMM report rapidly increasing levels of seismic activity at Pico de Sangue", Adiante, 28 August 2020. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 M. Moreira, "So, what exactly do we know about the 1912 eruption?", Adiante, 30 August 2020. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Pico de Sangue begins violently erupting", Adiante, 15 September 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 K. Klobuchar, "Violent eruption commences in Maracao, Imagua expected to be affected", ITS Online', 15 September 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  5. D. Ross, "Evacuations continue as Pico de Sangue erupts violently", Die Vrystaat, 16 September 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  6. R. Gaspar, "Panic in Paradise: For the first time since 1912, Maracao's Pico de Sangue erupts, causing total destrucion in the Arucian", Diário, 19 September 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  7. 7.0 7.1 K. Klobuchar, "Foreigners in Imagua to be evacuated by boat", ITS Online, 19 September 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  8. 8.0 8.1 J. Kjärrssen "As ash falls on the Arucian, Eldmark responds with aid and evacution transport", Världen Idag, 20 September 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2021