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Report on Reventador (Ecuador) — April 2008


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 33, no. 4 (April 2008)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Reventador (Ecuador) Quiet, January 2006-February 2007; emissions, March-October 2007

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Reventador (Ecuador) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 33:4. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200804-352010



0.077°S, 77.656°W; summit elev. 3562 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Our previous report on Reventador documented intermittent explosive eruptions through September 2005, with Strombolian activity and short-duration Vulcanian events. These events were accompanied by small pyroclastic flows, small lava flows, large bombs, and ash columns (BGVN 30:08). This report discusses reported events into 2008.

According to the Instituto Geofísico (Escuela Politécnica Nacional) (IG), seismicity at Reventador was low at the end of December 2005. There were no reports on this volcano during January 2006 through February 2007. The volcano was apparently only weakly eruptive or non-eruptive around this interval. MODVOLC thermal alerts were absent during late December 2005 to late March 2006.

In early March 2007, however, the IG reported an increase in the number of tectonic earthquakes at Reventador. Steam-and-ash plumes were sporadically visible and occasionally rose to altitudes of 4 km during 8-22 March. On 21 March, noises were reported. The next day, seismic signals changed that indicated possible emissions. On 24 March, local residents saw ash plumes and incandescent material near the crater and heard roaring noises. An explosion produced a plume that rose to an altitude of 6.6 km and drifted W. Based on reports from IG, the Washington VAAC reported an ash plume during 26-27 March that reached an altitude of 3.7-7 km and drifted NE and WNW. A thermal anomaly was present on satellite imagery during 24-27 March.

On 28 March, observers reported roaring noises and an ash column from Reventador that rose to an altitude of 5.6 km and drifted W. A small lava flow traveled 200 m down the S flank. Incandescent material and ash emissions were observed during 29-31 March. On 1 April, ash plumes rose to an altitude of 7.6 km and incandescent rocks were ejected about 50 m above the crater. Incandescent material was again seen at the summit on 2 April. The Washington VAAC reported that a strong hotspot was present on satellite imagery during 1-3 April. Based on pilot reports, IG reported that a steam-and-gas plume with little ash content rose to an altitude of 6.1 km and drifted W on 3 April.

On 3-4 April, incandescent blocks ejected from the summit subsequently rolled down the S flanks. Satellite imagery revealed ash plumes drifting W and a large thermal anomaly over the crater. On 4 April, a plume rose to an altitude of 4.6 km. Crater incandescence was observed on 4 and 6 April and "cannon shots" were heard on 6 April. Ash-and-steam emissions were observed during 8-9 April. Steam emissions from the flanks on 8 April possibly originated from a lava flow.

On 11 April, a steam plume from Reventador rose to an altitude of 3.8 km. Visual observations were hindered during 12-17 April due to inclement weather. On 13 April, the lava flow on the S flank, first observed on 28 March, was 15 m thick and possibly active.

On 18, 20, and 23 April, steam-and-gas emissions from Reventador hung near the summit. On 18 April, a plume was seen drifting NW on satellite imagery. On 20 April, a bluish haze of gases was observed. Clouds occasionally inhibited views of the summit during 18-24 April.

On 27 April, a steam plume from Reventador rose to an altitude of 3.7 km. Later that night, incandescent material was ejected from the crater. On 30 April, a steam plume was observed on satellite imagery drifting NW. Based on the Guayaquil Meteorological Watch Office (MWO) and satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that an ash plume rose to an altitude of 3.7 km and drifted NW. Visual observations were hindered during 25 April-1 May due to inclement weather.

On 16 May, the IG reported that a steam plume from Reventador rose to an altitude of 3.6 km and drifted to the NW. The plume was visible on satellite imagery. On 18 May, strong rains resulted in a lahar that lasted approximately 40 minutes. A lahar was also noted on 22 May. Visual observations were hindered during most of the reporting period due to inclement weather.

On 18 May, an ash plume from Reventador rose to an altitude of 3.7 km and drifted NW. Ash was not observed on satellite imagery. Lahars occurred on the flanks of Reventador on 15, 19, 20, 21, and 23 June. Clouds inhibited visual observations during 20-24 June.

MODVOLC thermal alerts were frequent during late March and throughout April 2007. One alert occurred in late May 2007; two also appeared on 6 August 2007 (local dates and times). No further alerts were issued in data accessed 9 June 2008.

A VAAC report noted an eruption on 11 October 2007. It emitted an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 4.6 km and drifted S. Ash was not observed on satellite imagery due to cloud cover.

Geological Summary. Volcán El Reventador is the most frequently active of a chain of Ecuadorian volcanoes in the Cordillera Real, well east of the principal volcanic axis. The forested, dominantly andesitic stratovolcano has 4-km-wide avalanche scarp open to the E formed by edifice collapse. A young, unvegetated, cone rises from the amphitheater floor to a height comparable to the rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions visible from Quito, about 90 km ESE. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have left extensive deposits on the scarp slope. The largest recorded eruption took place in 2002, producing a 17-km-high eruption column, pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 8 km, and lava flows from summit and flank vents.

Information Contacts: Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), NOAA/NESDIS E/SP23, NOAA Science Center Room 401, 5200 Auth Rd, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); P. Ramón, Instituto Geofísico-Departamento de Geofísica (IG), Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Casilla 17-01-2759, Quito, Ecuador.