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Report on Reventador (Ecuador) — 21 October-27 October 2009


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
21 October-27 October 2009
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2009. Report on Reventador (Ecuador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 October-27 October 2009. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (21 October-27 October 2009)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The IG reported that on 21 October, steam-and-gas plumes from Reventador with little to no ash content rose 2-4 km above the crater and drifted NW, W, and S. An explosion that day ejected incandescent material from the crater; blocks rolled down the flanks. On 22 October, a few explosions generated ash-and-steam plumes with little to no ash content that rose 4 km and drifted NW, E, and SE. Observations during an overflight revealed a small lava flow on the N flank and a larger flow with four branches on the S flank. Some of the base of the lava dome had been removed, and small spines were present, especially on the S side of the dome. Thermal images revealed that material in the crater was 400 degrees Celsius and the lava-flow fronts were 250 degrees Celsius. Cloudy weather prevented visual observations during 23-26 October. Roaring noises were heard on 25 October.

Geological Summary. 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 Volcán El Reventador stratovolcano rises to 3562 m above the jungles of the western Amazon basin. A 4-km-wide caldera widely breached to the east was formed by edifice collapse and is partially filled by a young, unvegetated stratovolcano that rises about 1300 m above the caldera floor to a height comparable to the caldera rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions that were visible from Quito in historical time. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the eastern floor of the caldera. The largest historical 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.

Source: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG)