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Report on Tungurahua (Ecuador) — 18 November-24 November 2015


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
18 November-24 November 2015
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Tungurahua (Ecuador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 November-24 November 2015. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (18 November-24 November 2015)



1.467°S, 78.442°W; summit elev. 5023 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

IG reported high seismic activity at Tungurahua during 17-24 November, characterized by long-period events, volcano-tectonic events, explosions, and signals indicating emissions; cloud cover sometimes prevented visual observations. Almost daily ash-and-gas emissions rose as high as 3 km above the crater and drifted SW, W, and NW. Ashfall was reported on most days, in areas including Choglontus (13 km WSW), Manzanó (8 km SW), Cotaló (8 km NW), Bilbao (8 km W), Chontapamba (W), Penipe (15 km SW), Cevallos (23 km NW), Mocha (25 km W), Chacauco (NW), Cusúa (8 km NW), and Píllate (8 km W). Incandescent blocks rolled 500 m down the flanks during 18-19 November.

Geological Summary. Tungurahua, a steep-sided andesitic-dacitic stratovolcano that towers more than 3 km above its northern base, is one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes. Three major edifices have been sequentially constructed since the mid-Pleistocene over a basement of metamorphic rocks. Tungurahua II was built within the past 14,000 years following the collapse of the initial edifice. Tungurahua II itself collapsed about 3000 years ago and produced a large debris-avalanche deposit and a horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the west, inside which the modern glacier-capped stratovolcano (Tungurahua III) was constructed. Historical eruptions have all originated from the summit crater, accompanied by strong explosions and sometimes by pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached populated areas at the volcano's base. Prior to a long-term eruption beginning in 1999 that caused the temporary evacuation of the city of Baños at the foot of the volcano, the last major eruption had occurred from 1916 to 1918, although minor activity continued until 1925.

Sources: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG), El Universo