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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 0.258°N
  • 78.183°W

  • 4609 m
    15118 ft

  • 352004
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Imbabura.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Imbabura.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Imbabura.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



5550 BCE

4609 m / 15118 ft


Volcano Types

Lava dome(s)

Rock Types

Andesite / Basaltic Andesite

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Geological Summary

Imbabura volcano rises to the north above scenic Laguna de San Pablo in the Interandean valley about 60 km north of Quito. The main edifice, Taita Imbabura ("Father Imbabura") forms the summit, with Huarmi Imbabura ("Imbabura's Son") forming a lateral lava-dome complex on the SW flank. Activity at the Pleistocene Imbabura I edifice constructed a large andesitic stratovolcano and ended prior to about 43,000 years ago with a major collapse that produced a debris avalanche that traveled 16 km to the north. Subsequent growth of the Imbabura II stratovolcano continued at least into the early Holocene and typically consisted of growth and collapse of large-volume dacitic lava domes. A major eruption about 25,000 years ago produced a debris avalanche and possible lateral blast and was followed by growth of the Huarmi Imbabura lava dome. Historical reports of eruptions consisted of only mudflows and rock slides.


The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography.

Beate B, 1992. (pers. comm.).

Hall M L, 1992. (pers. comm.).

Hall M L, 1977. El Volcanismo en El Ecuador. Quito: Biblioteca Ecuador, 120 p.

Hall M L, Mothes P A, 2008b. Volcanic impediments in the progressive development of pre-Columbian civilizations in the Ecuadorian Andes. J Volc Geotherm Res, 176: 344-355.

Le Pennec J-L, Ruiz-P A G, 2006. Late Pleistocene to Holocene activity of Imbabura volcano. Cities on Volcanoes 4, Quito, Ecuador, 23-27 Jan, 2006, Field trip C2: 1-8.

Eruptive History

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
5550 BCE ± 500 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Huarmi Imbabura

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Plancha Ladera Cone 0° 14' 0" N 78° 7' 0" W


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Cubilche, Loma Dome 3836 m 0° 14' 2" N 78° 8' 2" W
Cunru Dome 3304 m 0° 14' 0" N 78° 6' 0" W
Huarmi Imbabura Dome 3927 m 0° 14' 10" N 78° 11' 42" W
Tiata Imbabura Dome 4609 m 0° 15' 27" N 78° 10' 58" W

Photo Gallery

Imbabura volcano rises above the town of San Pablo del Lago in this aerial view from the south. The tip of Laguna de San Pablo is visible at the left. The main edifice, Taita Imbabura ("Father Imbabura"), forms the summit. Huarmi Imbabura ("Imbabura's Son") is a lateral lava-dome complex forming the grassy shoulder on the SW flank directly above the town of San Pablo del Lago in this view. Activity at the dominantly Pleistocene Imbabura volcano continued into at least the early Holocene.

Photo by Patricio Ramon (Instituto Geofisca, Escuela Politecnica Nacional).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Imbabura in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Imbabura Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
MODVOLC - HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. For each MODIS image, the algorithm automatically scans each 1 km pixel within it to check for high-temperature hot-spots. When one is found the date, time, location, and intensity are recorded. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. Each day updated global maps are compiled to display the locations of all hot spots detected in the previous 24 hours. There is a drop-down list with volcano names which allow users to 'zoom-in' and examine the distribution of hot-spots at a variety of spatial scales.
MIROVA Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA) is a near real time volcanic hot-spot detection system based on the analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data. In particular, MIROVA uses the Middle InfraRed Radiation (MIR), measured over target volcanoes, in order to detect, locate and measure the heat radiation sourced from volcanic activity.