Photo of this volcano
Google Earth icon
  Google Earth Placemark
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 0.038°N
  • 78.463°W

  • 3356 m
    11008 ft

  • 352011
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Pululagua.

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

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

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



290 CE

3356 m / 11008 ft


Volcano Types

Lava dome(s)

Rock Types


Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)


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

Geological Summary

Pululagua is a relatively low, forested volcano immediately north of the equator, about 15 km north of Quito. The volcano contains a 5-km-wide summit caldera narrowly breached to the west and partially filled by a group of dacitic lava domes. Older pre-caldera lava domes are found on the eastern, SE, and southern sides of the caldera, with a group of younger pre-caldera lava domes primarily on the eastern side. Four post-caldera domes rises up to 480 m above the caldera floor. Large explosive eruptions producing pyroclastic flows took place during the late Pleistocene and Holocene. Caldera formation took place during a series of eruptions lasting 150-200 years beginning about 2650 radiocarbon years ago. The latest dated eruption occurred from post-caldera lava domes about 1670 years ago and produced lava flows and pyroclastic flows.


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

Andrade D, Molina I, 2006. Pululahua caldera. Fourth Conf Cities on Volcanoes, IAVCEI, Quito, Ecuador, 2006, Excursion A3: 1-11.

Barberi F, Ghigliotti M, Macedonio G, Orellana H, Pareschi M T, Rosi M, 1992. Volcanic hazard assessment of Guagua Pichincha (Ecuador) based on past behavior and numerical models. J Volc Geotherm Res, 49: 53-68.

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

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

Padron E, Hernandez P A, Toulkeridis T, Perez N M, Marrero R, Melian G, Virgili G, Notsu K, 2008. Diffuse CO2 emission rate from Pululahua and the lake-filled Cuicocha calderas, Ecuador. J Volc Geotherm Res, 176: 163-169.

Papale P, Rosi M, 1993. A case of no-wind plinian fallout at Pululagua caldera (Ecuador): implications for models of clast dispersal. Bull Volc, 55: 523-535.

Volentik A C M, Bonadonna C, Connor C B, Connor L J, Rosi M, 2010. Modeling tephra dispersal in absence of wind: Insights from the climactic phase of the 2450 BP Plinian eruption of Pululagua volcano (Ecuador). J Volc Geotherm Res, 193: 117-136.

Eruptive History

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
0290 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
0450 BCE ± 150 years Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
0690 BCE ± 150 years Unknown Confirmed 5 Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
4800 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)

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
Chivo, Loma el Dome 2698 m 0° 2' 28" N 78° 29' 31" W
Marca, Loma la Dome 3083 m 0° 1' 34" N 78° 27' 14" W
Pondona, Loma Dome 2975 m 0° 3' 0" N 78° 29' 38" W

Photo Gallery

Cerro Sincholagua (left) and Loma la Marca (right) are the southernmost of a group of lava domes pre-dating the formation of Pululagua's caldera. Seen here from the equator to their south, they are part of a chain of lava domes that were constructed on a roughly N-S line east of the caldera. Cerro Sincholagua forms the highest peak of 3356-m Pululagua volcano.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1978 (Smithsonian Institution).
The flat floor of the 3-km-wide caldera of Pululagua volcano is used for agricultural purposes. This view from the SE caldera rim looks across to Loma El Lavadero on the NE rim, 700 m above the caldera floor. Pululagua's caldera was formed during major explosive eruptions about 2400 years ago that produced plinian airfall deposits, pyroclastic flows, and pyroclastic surges.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1978 (Smithsonian Institution).
Pululagua is a relatively low, forested volcano immediately north of the equator, 27 km north of Quito. Loma Pondona (left) and the lower Rumiloma (right center) are two of a group of lava domes that partially fill a 3-km-wide summit caldera. They are seen here from the SE caldera rim. The caldera was formed during the latest dated eruption of Pululagua about 2400 years ago. Pululagua produced large explosive eruptions accompanied by pyroclastic flows during the late Pleistocene and Holocene.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1978 (Smithsonian Institution).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

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

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Pululagua 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.