Chimborazo

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 1.464°S
  • 78.815°W

  • 6310 m
    20697 ft

  • 352071
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Chimborazo.

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

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

Glacier-clad, 6310-m-high Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest volcano, anchors the southern end of the country's "Avenue of Volcanoes" 30 km NW of the city of Riobamba. The dominantly andesitic-to-dacitic Chimborazo volcano is mostly of Pliocene-to-Pleistocene age. The volcano collapsed about 35,000 years ago, producing a major debris avalanche, whose deposits underlie Riobamba and temporarily dammed the Río Chambo, producing an ephemeral lake. Subsequent eruptions have been dominantly andesitic and constructed three edifices along an east-west line, the youngest and westernmost of which forms the current summit of Chimborazo. Although activity was at one time thought to have ceased during the very latest Pleistocene, recent work indicates that Chimborazo erupted more than a half dozen times during the Holocene, producing pyroclastic surges that reached down to 3800 m elevation.

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
0550 ± 150 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology
0270 ± 150 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected)
2500 BCE ± 1500 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology
4130 BCE ± 150 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected)
5410 BCE ± 75 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected)
7500 BCE ± 2500 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology

The Global Volcanism Program has no synonyms or subfeatures listed for Chimborazo.

Clouds drape glacier-clad, 6310-m-high Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest volcano. Chimborazo anchors the southern end of the country's "Avenue of Volcanoes" 30 km NW of the city of Riobamba. The volcano is mostly of Pliocene-to-Pleistocene age, but recent work has shown that it remained active into the Holocene. The volcano is composed of three edifices along an east-west line, the youngest and westernmost of which forms the current summit of Chimborazo.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1978 (Smithsonian Insitution).
Glacier-clad, 6310-m-high Chimborazo is Ecuador's highest volcano. It is seen here from the NE with Carihuairazo volcano forming the lower, mostly snow-free peak to the left. The youngest and westernmost of three edifices constructed along an E-W line forms the current summit of Chimborazo. Although activity was once thought to have ceased during the very latest Pleistocene, recent work indicates that Chimborazo erupted several times during the Holocene.

Photo by Patricio Ramon, 2004 (Instituto Geofisca, Escuela Politecnica Nacional).
An erosional unconformity cutting diagonally across the center of the photo due to a glacial advance about 20,000-18,000 years ago separates two sequences of late-Pleistocene tephra layers from Ecuador's Chimborazo volcano. A less prominent unconformity below the light-colored tephra layer at the top of the sequence marks a 16,000-14,000 year old glacial advance. This ~12-m-thick exposure lies on the SW flank of Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest volcano.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2006 (Smithsonian Institution).

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Barba D, 2004. . (pers. comm.).

Barba D, Robin C, Samaniego P, Eissen J-P, 2008. Holocene recurrent explosive activity at Chimborazo volcano (Ecuador). J Volc Geotherm Res, 176: 27-35.

Beate B, Salgado R, 2005. Geothermal country update for Ecuador, 2000-2005. Proc World Geotherm Cong 2005, Antalya, Turkey, 24-29 April 2005, 5 p.

Beate B, von Hillebrandt-M C G, Hall M L, 1990. Mapa de los peligros volcanicos potenciales asociados con el volcan Chimborazo. Inst Geof Escuela Politecnica Nac Ecuador, 1:50,000 map and text.

Bernard B, van Wyk de Vries B, Barba D, Leyrit H, Robin C, Alcaraz S, Samaniego P, 2008. The Chimborazo sector collapse and debris avalanche: deposit characteristics as evidence of emplacment mechanisms. J Volc Geotherm Res, 176: 36-43.

Clapperton C M, 1990. Glacial and volcanic geomorphology of the Chimborazo-Carihuairazo massif, Ecuadorian Andes. Trans Roy Soc Edinburgh: Earth Sci, 81: 91-116.

Eissen J-P, Barba D, Bernard B, 2006. Chimborazo volcano: late Pleistocene and Holocene activity. Cities on Volcanoes 4, Quito, Ecuador, 23-27 Jan, 2006, Field trip A2: 1-23.

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

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

Kilian R, Pichler H, 1987. El Chimborazo de Humboldt y el desarrollo de otros volcanes grandes en el Ecuador. In: {Investigaciones Alemanas Recientes en America Latina}, Bonn: Geol Deut Ferschungsgemeinschaft, p 25-34.

Samaniego P, Eissen J-P, Le Pennec J-L, Hall M L, Monzier M, Mothes P, Ramon P, Robin C, Egred J, Molina I, Yepes H, 2003. Los peligros volcanicos asociados con el Tungurahua. Inst Geofis Escuela Politecnica Nac, Inst Recherche Devel, 1: 1-108.

Volcano Types

Stratovolcano
Caldera

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Rock Types

Major
Andesite / Basaltic Andesite
Dacite
Minor
Rhyolite

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
442
7,561
463,426
2,325,666

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Chimborazo 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).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.