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Report on Sabancaya (Peru) — June 1990


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 15, no. 6 (June 1990)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Sabancaya (Peru) Ash emission continues; plume to 3-5 km

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1990. Report on Sabancaya (Peru) (McClelland, L., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 15:6. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199006-354006



15.787°S, 71.857°W; summit elev. 5960 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Sabancaya continued to eject ash through late June. Pulses of volcanic gas and ash were emitted at roughly 30-minute intervals, reaching 1-3 km above the summit. Ashfall appeared to be limited to a 10-km radius. Accumulations of several tens of centimeters were reported on the ice/snow cap that covers ~ 4 km2 of the summit area. No juvenile material was evident in a preliminary petrographic examination of the ash. An average of 15 high-frequency (A-type) events were recorded daily. The seismic network consisted of two seismometers 22 km NE and NW of Sabancaya, with an additional seismometer being installed on the S side of the volcano. A 1:100,000 scale hazard map was produced by the Univ Nacional de San Agustín and Civil Defense officials. Towns in the 1,500-m-deep Colca Valley, 20 km N of the volcano, are perched above the valley floor and not at much apparent risk from lahars or other volcano related flows. Although between 8,000 and 10,000 people were living in other drainages in the area, all were at least 25 km away. Field geology showed one old lava flow to be hornblende-rich high-Si andesite/dacite in composition. Pits dug at the volcano's E base yielded only alluvium, with no recent volcanic deposits.

Geological Summary. Sabancaya, located in the saddle NE of Ampato and SE of Hualca Hualca volcanoes, is the youngest of these volcanic centers and the only one to have erupted in historical time. The oldest of the three, Nevado Hualca Hualca, is of probable late-Pliocene to early Pleistocene age. The name Sabancaya (meaning "tongue of fire" in the Quechua language) first appeared in records in 1595 CE, suggesting activity prior to that date. Holocene activity has consisted of Plinian eruptions followed by emission of voluminous andesitic and dacitic lava flows, which form an extensive apron around the volcano on all sides but the south. Records of observed eruptions date back to 1750 CE.

Information Contacts: M. Hall, Instituto Geofísico, Quito, Ecuador; N. Banks, CVO.