Report on Sangay (Ecuador) — 24 November-30 November 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
24 November-30 November 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, 24 November-30 November 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 that thermal anomalies, persistent at Sangay since July, suggested continuous emission of lava flows and hot pyroclastic material from summit crater vents. The SE drainage, which had been scoured and widened by persistent pyroclastic flows during August 2019 to March 2020, had only widened from about 600 m to about 650 m during March-October. An increased number of explosions and an inflationary trend were recorded during the previous few weeks. Strombolian activity began to dominate the eruptive style in July, though on 17 November the number of explosions increased to two per minute and remained at that level at least through 23 November. Most of the explosions were small and were recorded both by the seismic and acoustic networks. Though slight inflation began to be detected in June 2021 the trend was more pronounced in recent weeks. InSAR satellite data showed an inflationary trend of up to 5 cm per year all around the volcano except the E flank between 5 January 2020 and 13 November 2021. The sulfur dioxide emission rate had remained stable and low since June, with values less than 1,000 tons per day.
Daily ash-and-gas plumes were identified by the Washington VAAC or in IG webcam views during 23-29 November. The plumes rose 970-2,100 m above the volcano and drifted NW, W, SW, and S. Daily thermal anomalies over the volcano were often visible in satellite data. Strombolian activity at summit vents and SE-descending lava flows were visible during 23-24 November. A new vent was possibly identified on the upper W flank. Two lahars were detected by the seismic network on 25 November.
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 the open 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 eroded by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of an eruption was in 1628. Almost 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.