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Report on Tungurahua (Ecuador) — 9 May-15 May 2012

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 May-15 May 2012
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2012. Report on Tungurahua (Ecuador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 May-15 May 2012. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (9 May-15 May 2012)


Tungurahua

Ecuador

1.467°S, 78.442°W; summit elev. 5023 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


IG reported that during 9-15 May visual observations of Tungurahua were often limited due to cloud cover. On 10 May a steam plume with low ash content rose 200 m above the crater and drifted W. Seismicity increased on 12 May. Explosions caused windows to vibrate in areas near the volcano. Sounds resembling blocks rolling down the flanks as well as roaring noises were reported. A plume with low ash content rose 2-3 km above the crater and drifted W and NW. The next day a plume rose 200 m above the crater and drifted W.

Geologic Background. Tungurahua, a steep-sided andesitic-dacitic stratovolcano that towers more than 3 km above its northern base, is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes. Three major edifices have been sequentially constructed since the mid-Pleistocene over a basement of metamorphic rocks. Tungurahua II was built within the past 14,000 years following the collapse of the initial edifice. Tungurahua II itself collapsed about 3000 years ago and produced a large debris-avalanche deposit and a horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the west, inside which the modern glacier-capped stratovolcano (Tungurahua III) was constructed. Historical eruptions have all originated from the summit crater, accompanied by strong explosions and sometimes by pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached populated areas at the volcano's base. Prior to a long-term eruption beginning in 1999 that caused the temporary evacuation of the city of Baños at the foot of the volcano, the last major eruption had occurred from 1916 to 1918, although minor activity continued until 1925.

Source: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG)