Report on Sangay (Ecuador) — 20 February-26 February 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 February-26 February 2013
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Report on Sangay (Ecuador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 February-26 February 2013. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
2.005°S, 78.341°W; summit elev. 5286 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
According to the Washington VAAC, on 22 February a pilot observed an ash plume from Sangay that rose to an altitude of 7.6 km (25,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW. Due to cloud cover in the area, neither satellite image analysis nor the Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG) could confirm an ash emission. Ash plumes were not detected in cloudy satellite image views during 23-24 February, but a thermal anomaly was detected on 24 February.
Geologic Background. 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 horseshoe-shaped 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 sculpted by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of a historical eruption was in 1628. More or less 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.