Report on Reventador (Ecuador) — 8 September-14 September 2020
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
8 September-14 September 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, 8 September-14 September 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 a high level of activity continued to be recorded at Reventador. In a special report, IG reviewed the activity had started in mid-June, characterized by strong explosions, the ejection of blocks that rolled down the flanks, and pyroclastic flows that descended the N, NE, and W flanks less than 1 km. Additionally, at the beginning of August, a small lava flow effused at the summit and traveled 400-500 m down the NE flank. Formation of a summit lava dome was also noted on 17 August. The number of thermal alerts was the highest in August compared to the rest of the year. The cone destroyed during a 2002 eruption had been rebuilt and was as tall or slightly taller by 11 September.
During 9-15 September gas, steam, and ash emissions observed with the webcam or reported by the Washington VAAC, sometimes multiple times a day, rose as high as 1 km above the summit crater and drifted N, NW, and W. Incandescent blocks rolled down the N flank during 9-10 September and as far as 600 m down the S and SW flanks during 13-15 September. The lava flow on the NE flank had not lengthened.
Geological Summary. 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.