Report on Tungurahua (Ecuador) — 8 May-14 May 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 May-14 May 2013
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Report on Tungurahua (Ecuador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 May-14 May 2013. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
1.467°S, 78.442°W; summit elev. 5023 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
IG reported that although cloud cover often prevented observations of Tungurahua during 8-14 May, ash plumes were observed almost daily. Seismicity remained at a moderate level. Explosions occasionally vibrated structures nearby and at the Tungurahua Observatory (OVT) in Guadalupe (14 km N). Strombolian activity was observed on most nights ejecting blocks sometimes 500 m above the crater; blocks that fell onto the flanks rolled as far as 1 km. During 9-10 May lava fountains rose 700 m above the crater. During 8-11 May ash plumes rose 1-2.5 km and drifted SW, W, and NW, producing ashfall in El Manzano (8 km SW), Choglontus (SW), Quero (20 km NW), Mocha (25 km WNW), Pillate (8 km W), Tisaleo (29 km NW), and Penipe on 8 and 10 May, and in Santa Fe de Galán, Mocha, Sabañag (15 km WNW), Tisaleo, and Quero (20 km NW) on 11 May. Ashfall was reported in Quero on 12 May. The next day explosions generated ash plumes that rose 2-3 km and drifted NW and W, producing ashfall in El Manzano. Roaring and sounds resembling rolling blocks were reported. On 14 May ash fell in Choglontus, El Manzano, and Mocha.
Geologic Background. 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.