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Report on Ubinas (Peru) — 19 April-25 April 2006


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
19 April-25 April 2006
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Ubinas (Peru). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 19 April-25 April 2006. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (19 April-25 April 2006)



16.355°S, 70.903°W; summit elev. 5672 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

INGEMMET reported that gas and ash was emitted from Ubinas from 27 March to at least 19 April. On 13 April, ash emissions increased noticeably in comparison to the previous days, with ashfall in the villages of Ubinas, Querapi, and Sacuaya, and as far as 7 km from the volcano. Acid rain was also noted in these villages, particularly between 1400 and 1600 on 14 April. Explosions on 13 and 14 April were heard in nearby villages. At this time, the Alert Level at the volcano was Yellow. On the 19th, a lava dome was observed on the crater floor for the first time. It was incandescent, 60 m in diameter, and 4 m high. Explosions were heard as far as 6 km from the volcano and a plume composed of ash and lava fragments rose ~ 3 km above the volcano (or 28,450 ft a.s.l.). Plumes lasted for 6-7 hours and hazard statements suggested significant danger within 4 km of the crater. The Alert Level was raised to Orange. The Buenos Aires VAAC released volcanic ash advisory statements during the report period.

According to news reports, as of 19 April at least 1,000 people living N of the volcano suffered respiratory problems, dozens of livestock died and many more were ill after eating ash-covered grass, and water sources were polluted with ash. Dozens of people from Querapi, the town closest to the volcano, began to evacuate on 21 April. On 22 April, officials declared a state of emergency for the area near the volcano and sent aid for evacuees.

Geological Summary. A small, 1.4-km-wide caldera cuts the top of Ubinas, Perú's most active volcano, giving it a truncated appearance. It is the northernmost of three young volcanoes located along a regional structural lineament about 50 km behind the main volcanic front. The growth and destruction of Ubinas I was followed by construction of Ubinas II beginning in the mid-Pleistocene. The upper slopes of the andesitic-to-rhyolitic Ubinas II stratovolcano are composed primarily of andesitic and trachyandesitic lava flows and steepen to nearly 45 degrees. The steep-walled, 150-m-deep summit caldera contains an ash cone with a 500-m-wide funnel-shaped vent that is 200 m deep. Debris-avalanche deposits from the collapse of the SE flank about 3,700 years ago extend 10 km from the volcano. Widespread Plinian pumice-fall deposits include one of Holocene age about 1,000 years ago. Holocene lava flows are visible on the flanks, but historical activity, documented since the 16th century, has consisted of intermittent minor-to-moderate explosive eruptions.

Sources: Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Instituto Geológico Minero y Metalúrgico (INGEMMET), Associated Press, Agence France-Presse (AFP), Reuters