Report on Sangay (Ecuador) — 6 May-12 May 2020
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 May-12 May 2020
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2020. Report on Sangay (Ecuador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 May-12 May 2020. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
2.005°S, 78.341°W; summit elev. 5286 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
IG reported a high level of activity at Sangay during 6-12 May. Weather clouds often prevented visual observations of the volcano; according to Washington VAAC notices ash plumes rose 870-1,470 m above the summit and drifted W and SW during 6 and 10-12 May. Incandescent blocks were seen descending the SE flank during breaks in cloud cover on 6, 8, and 11 May. Signals indicating lahars were recorded by the seismic network on 7 and 9 May.
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.