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Report on Sangay (Ecuador) — 18 August-24 August 2021


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
18 August-24 August 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Sangay (Ecuador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 August-24 August 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (18 August-24 August 2021)



2.005°S, 78.341°W; summit elev. 5286 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

IG reported gas-and-ash emissions from Sangay rising 500-1,500 m above the summit that drifted W and SW during 19-20 and 24 August. During 20-23 August gas-and-steam plume rose 1-2 km above the summit and drifted W, SW, and NW. Weather clouds and rain sometimes prevented visual and webcam observations of the volcano. Ash plumes were identified in satellite images by the Washington VAAC, rising 570-1,500 m above the volcano and drifting W and SW during 19-21 and 23-24 August. During the evening on 19 August explosions accompanied by incandescent blocks were reported around 1852 rolling down the SE drainage. Signals indicating lahars were recorded by the seismic network during 18-19 and 22-23 August.

Geological Summary. The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador's volcanoes and its most active. The steep-sided, glacier-covered, dominantly andesitic volcano grew within the open calderas of two previous edifices which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been eroded by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of an eruption was in 1628. Almost continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex.

Sources: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)