Active volcanoes / Aktive vulkaner:

Guagua Pichincha, Equador

Foto: Marco Cruz/

Dont miss the links at the bottom!

The Guagua Pichincha volcano is situated about10 km from Quito, capital of Equador,
raises 4.794m, from where you have a splendid view of the city.

November 5th, 2002
The Instituto Geofisico (IG), reports that 6 earthquakes of long period, 3 volcano-tectonic and
3 explosions, happened at 2056 (local time), 2115 and 2154, of yesterday. The most important explosion was at 2154 with a reduced displacement of 12.9 cm2. The report of the Guard of Refuge indicates that it left a new fumarole in south edge the crater that contains the new dome, and it gave much noise and the scent of sulfur is strong. Around small craters new material is observed. The volcano stays with a moderate phreatic activityThe increase in the number of earthquakes, is the result of this phreatic process.

November 1st, 1999
ORANGE alert!
Yesterday the alert was raised again to ORANGE for Lloa and its vicinity (map here) Huruarco, with 100 inhabitants, Palmira with 16, San Jorge og Chilcabamba
18, were all evacuated during last night. LLoa, which has a population of 1500 people will
be evacuated to day. Cattle and other animals will also be moved during the daylight.

Decision was made when seismicity declined. This indicates a possible eruption during the coming 3 to 5 days, similar, or greater to the one of October 7th. Number of seismicity yesterday was lover than previous days, when number of quakes were around 3500 per day. On the other hand, temperature on the flanks of the crater was higher, thus indicating that somethins is going on inside, which is not allowed to come out.

Meanwhile, the inhabitants of Quito can visit the Tungurahua volcano, near Ambato, 125 km further south, to look at the spectacular show from this volcano - or will it be
Guagua Pichincha to explode first?

October 21st, 1999
We are sorry that we are not able to keep this page updated, but will try to give short information as often as possible. Guagua is now showing up with another new dome, and tremor activity is increasing again. Another eruption similar to the one of October 5th is anticipated. Also someone has began talking about both Tungurahua and Guagua Pichincha
is going to erupt at the same time....To day Tungurahua, less than 100 miles further south,
has never been closer to red alert. News about the volcanic activity from both volcanoes is available from SWVRC daily from around 15.00 GMT.

October 8th, 1999
New ash and vapor explosion yesterday, and new ash-rain in the city. Please see the norwegian translation for fabolous pictures of the explosion yesterday.
You may click right here: CLICK HERE

October 6th, 1999
During the last 24 hours 334 LP quakes were registered, 420 hybrid and 88 quakes forced by rockfalls. Those values were similar to the day before. Most quakes were in the western part of the boiler, in depth of 1 to 2 kilometers. In addition there were 17 transmissions of ash and vapor, including LF tremors. The most important eruption happened at 21.27 local time, and had 'a reduced displacement of 36 cm2', which is described as large (and which I don't still understand the meaning of...??? anyone around knowing better?). This eruption sent an ashcloud 8.000 meter up in the air, from were it moved southwesternly.

Ash falling down was reported from Chillogallo area in Quito, where also a strong smell of sulphur was felt. Yellow alert, which has been issued day before yesterday is maintained.
(Instituto Geofysico)

2.october 1999
Activity has been lower last day, but at the same time more volcan tectonic quakes have occured, and magma is increasing. Still one hopes that the now broken dome will let gasses and some magma pass, to release energy thus avoiding an explosion.

30.september 1999
1 Inch of ash felt over Quito yesterday, and strong smell of sulphur awakened many people during the night of yesterday. Alltogether more than 400.000 school pupils are staying home, as schools are closed.

Hopefully now, the dome will partly broke up, as it now allready has, and lava will come out and cool off, then form another dome, and every time this happens, gasses will emit, and the pressure be lowered. Thus an explosive eruption will probably be avoided.

An earthquake of 3.4 magnitude also occured yesterday with center in the northern part of Quito. Number of quakes at the volcano has decreased a little again.

29.september 1999
At .20.30 GMT yesterday, the evacuation of Lloa started. Lloa is a small population of about 5000 inhabitants. About 2.500 farmers denied evacuation. Sivil Defence, Red Cross, police etc forced them to evacuate, and to get away from the danger-zone immideately, letting their property behind. Another 60 smaller communities will have to be evacuated while the alert is still ORANGE, waiting for RED ALERT.

28.september 1999

Foto:Carlos Buitròn, Institute Geofysico
At 20:30 local time yesterday night Orange Alert was declared.
Seismic activity increased from 2 quakes per minute to 3 quakes during yesterday. It is expected that one of the two types of eruption showed below will be what to come.

vulcanian eruption- - and plinian

Public schools and the University are closed. People are urged to buy a food-reserve to last for 5 days. Routes for evacuation are being published.

27.september 1999
"Few, if any, volcanoes would have kept from erupting, if they behaved in the same way as Guagua Pichincha has the past days" says Director of the Institute Geofysico.

Magma is extending, and quakes are located to about 3-4 kilometers down, where one expects the magma to fill up. Gas is erupting faster now, and consists of even more helium, which is an indication that magma is coming up from below.

Foto: Diario LaHora, Ecuador

26.september 1999
The morning of Sunday began with a large eruption, followed by a sound like a jetplane taking off. A lahar developed, and followed the Cristal river. Ashfall in nearby villages covered vegetagion and cars in the streets. Last 24 hours showed 1300 volcanic quakes. Smell of sulphur was intense.

25.september 1999
Institute Geofisico says last 24 hours has shown an dramatic increase in activity.
An eruption cloud from fumaroles has risen to 1500 m above crater.

24.september 1999
Yesterday Guagua Pichincha sent an ash and gas-cloud as high up as 6.000 meters, easily seen from Quito.

21.september 1999

19.september 1999
Pressure inside the volcano is increasing, indicating magma is trying to find its way out. From the volcano goes a tectonic crust, passing through Quito, and 40 km southward.

Riskzone is the slopes of the volcano, with 7.400 hectar wood, farmland and 90 districts
having a population about 100.000.

Fra avisen La Hora

Ecuador-map : click here

3 september 1999

Foto tatt av Hugo Yepes

25.august 1999
Pichincha awakened on tuesday, forcing a 6000m cloud of steam (Phreatic explosion).

Guagua Pichincha Photo Taken By Patricia Mothes, SWVRC

 Fascinating Ecuador!
 La Hora, Diario (spanish)
 Geological Institute information about Guagua Pichincha


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