Report on Reventador (Ecuador) — 18 March-24 March 2020
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 March-24 March 2020
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2020. Report on Reventador (Ecuador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 March-24 March 2020. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
0.077°S, 77.656°W; summit elev. 3562 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
IG reported that during 17-24 March seismic data from Reventador’s network indicated a high level of seismic activity, including explosions, long-period earthquakes, and signals indicating emissions. Gas-and-ash emissions were observed almost daily, though cloudy weather often prevented views of the volcano; IG and the Washington VAAC reported gas-and-ash emissions rising around 500-900 m above the crater rim, and as high as 2 km, and drifting NE, SE, S, and W. Ashfall was reported in San Rafael (8 km ESE) on 17 March. Incandescent blocks rolled 900 m down the S and SE flanks during 23-24 March.
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.