The Tungurahua volcano, located in Ecuador’s Andes mountain range, has erupted once again, spewing a large column of ash 4 km high.

Features of the Tungurahua volcano

Tungurahua, which is under constant surveillance, rises to 5,020 metres and lies 130 km south of the Ecuadorian capital.

  • It is one of Ecuador’s eight active volcanoes.
    Straddling the provinces of Chimborazo and Tungurahua, it has been erupting since October 5, 1999.
  • Its eruptive activity resumed on May 28, 2010, and since late February 2016 it has been experiencing a new explosive phase.
  • The Geological Institute for the Prevention of Natural Risks in Ecuador (IGEPN) correlates the activity with a break in the rock buffer blocking the exit of magma and gases, highlighted by the fall of “gravel” of different colors on the Choglontus and Pillate zones.

Tungurahua, still an active volcano

Deformation measurements are not significant, particularly for stations located at the base of the volcano, showing that the volume of magma rising remains small. Nor do the seismic readings reveal any new magma feeding at depth, suggesting a larger magma intrusion.

This small intrusion suggests a likely scenario of continued activity over the next 2 to 4 weeks, characterized by explosions, ash emissions that may be momentarily more intense, and small pyroclastic flows limited to the middle part of Tungurahua’s flanks.

Visiting the volcano by night: a safe and impressive sight

The name Tungurahua probably derives from the Quechua tunguru meaning “throat” and rahua meaning “to burn“.
The indigenous people of the Sierra call it Mama Tungurahua, which means “mother Tungurahua“, as opposed to the father, who is considered to be Chimborazo (Taita Chimborazo) in Quechua culture. The volcano also bears other nicknames, such as “Black Giant” and “Colossus“, due to its imposing size and black lava flows.