Report on Sangay (Ecuador) — 12 May-18 May 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
12 May-18 May 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Sangay (Ecuador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 May-18 May 2021. 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 12-18 May. Weather clouds and rain often prevented visual and webcam observations of the volcano; daily lahars were detected by the seismic network. Ash plumes rose 900-1,200 m and drifted W during 14-15 May. Several dense ash emissions were identified in satellite images on 16 May. According to the Washington VAAC ash plumes rose as high as 12.2 km (40,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N; part of the ash plume drifted WSW at 6.4 km (21,000 ft) a.s.l. Minor ashfall was reported in the local community of Ishupamba (Province of Chimborazo), near the volcano. Ash plumes rose 1.2-1.5 km above the volcano and drifted WSW and SW during 17-18 May.
Geological Summary. 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.