Report on Tungurahua (Ecuador) — 8 July-14 July 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 July-14 July 2015
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Tungurahua (Ecuador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 July-14 July 2015. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
1.467°S, 78.442°W; summit elev. 5023 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
IG reported moderate seismic activity at Tungurahua during 8-14 July, characterized by long-period events, minor instances of tremor, and a few explosions. Cloud cover often prevented visual observations. Steam-and-ash plumes during 9-10 July rose 500 m above the crater and drifted W; minor ashfall was reported in Choglontus (13 km WSW) and El Manzano (8 km SW). An explosion on 12 July produced an ash plume that rose 2 km and caused windows to vibrate in Juive (NW). An explosion on 13 July generated an ash plume that rose 1 km. The next day ashfall was reported in Palitahua (6 km SSW).
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.