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Report on Sabancaya (Peru) — January 2004


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 29, no. 1 (January 2004)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Sabancaya (Peru) New ashfall during July 2003

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2004. Report on Sabancaya (Peru) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 29:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200401-354006



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

As previously reported in BGVN 28:05 no deformation had been observed during mid-1997 through December 2001. In mid-2003 observers saw evidence of recent ash emissions.

On 31 July 2003, during a commercial flight from Cusco to Arequipa, Mike Sheridan observed ashfall deposits on fresh snow at Sabancaya volcano. The flight path was S of the volcano on a cloud-free day, and fresh snowfall had occurred a day or two before. Ashfall deposits blanketed the cone's summit and, on the NE side, extended to the volcano's base. Two days later, when traveling by car, Sheridan and Jean-Claude Thouret observed the ash from the E. They saw ash down to ~ 5,000 m elevation. The ash blanket appeared comparable to those observed at Sabancaya in the 1990s.

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: Michael F. Sheridan, SUNY at Buffalo, Dept. of Geology, Buffalo, NY 14260; Jean-Claude Thouret, Centre de Recherches Volcanologiques, 5 rue Kessler, 63038 Clermont-Ferrand, France.