Report on Sangay (Ecuador) — 25 February-3 March 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 February-3 March 2015
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Sangay (Ecuador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 February-3 March 2015. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
2.005°S, 78.341°W; summit elev. 5286 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Based on a SIGMET notice of a pilot observation, the Washington VAAC reported that on 26 February an ash plume from Sangay rose to an altitude of 7.3 km (24,000 ft) a.s.l. Satellite images only detected an intermittent thermal anomaly. According to the VAAC, on 27 February IG reported a lava flow and a possible diffuse ash plume that rose to an altitude below 5.5 km (18,000 ft) a.s.l. within 15 km of the summit. On 2 March a local pilot observed an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 7.6 km (25,000 ft) a.s.l. On 3 March an ash plume rose to an estimated altitude of 5.2 km (17,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 13 km W.
Geologic Background. The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador's volcanoes and its most active. The steep-sided, glacier-covered, dominantly andesitic volcano grew within horseshoe-shaped calderas of two previous edifices, which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been sculpted by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of a historical eruption was in 1628. More or less continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex.