Report on Reventador (Ecuador) — 9 March-15 March 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 March-15 March 2016
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Reventador (Ecuador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 March-15 March 2016. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
0.077°S, 77.656°W; summit elev. 3562 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 9-15 March IG reported a high level of seismic activity including explosions, volcano-tectonic events, long-period earthquakes, harmonic tremor, and signals indicating emissions at Reventador; cloud cover often prevented visual observations. On 9 March an explosion at 0505 ejected blocks that fell onto the flanks 1.2 km from the crater. An explosion at 0640 produced an ash plume that rose 1 km and drifted NW. At night during 9-10 March blocks traveled 1.2 km down the flanks and a small pyroclastic flow also descended the flanks. An explosion on 10 March generated an ash-and-steam plume that rose 1 km and drifted SW. Steam-and-ash emissions were occasionally seen through cloud cover on 13 March. The next day the crater was incandescent and blocks rolled 500 m down all flanks. Steam-and-gas plumes rose 800 m and drifted NW.
Geologic Background. Reventador is the most frequently active of a chain of Ecuadorian volcanoes in the Cordillera Real, well east of the principal volcanic axis. The forested, dominantly andesitic Volcán El Reventador stratovolcano rises to 3562 m above the jungles of the western Amazon basin. A 4-km-wide caldera widely breached to the east was formed by edifice collapse and is partially filled by a young, unvegetated stratovolcano that rises about 1300 m above the caldera floor to a height comparable to the caldera rim. It has been the source of numerous lava flows as well as explosive eruptions that were visible from Quito in historical time. Frequent lahars in this region of heavy rainfall have constructed a debris plain on the eastern floor of the caldera. The largest historical eruption took place in 2002, producing a 17-km-high eruption column, pyroclastic flows that traveled up to 8 km, and lava flows from summit and flank vents.