Tungurahua Volcano “The Black Giant” Showing Warning Signs of “Potential Collapse”

Tungurahua Volcano

Stock photo of Tungurahua, an active stratovolcano located in the Cordillera Oriental of Ecuador.

South American volcano showing early warning signs of ‘potential collapse,’ research shows.

One of South America’s most prominent volcanoes is producing early warning signals of a potential collapse, new research has shown.

Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador — known locally as “The Black Giant” — is displaying the hallmarks of flank instability, which could result in a colossal landslide.

New research, led by Dr. James Hickey from the Camborne School of Mines, has suggested that the volcano’s recent activity has led to significant rapid deformation on the western flank.

The researchers believe that the driving force causing this deformation could lead to an increased risk of the flank collapsing, causing widespread damage to the surrounding local area.

The research recommends the volcano should be closely monitored to watch for stronger early warning signs of potential collapse.

The study is published in the journal Earth & Planetary Science Letters.

Tungurahua Volcano Eruption

Stock photo of volcanic eruption at Tungurahua.

Dr. Hickey, who is based at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, Cornwall, said: “Using satellite data we have observed very rapid deformation of Tungurahua’s west flank, which our research suggests is caused by imbalances between magma being supplied and magma being erupted”.

Tungurahua volcano has a long history of flank collapse, and has also been frequently active since 1999. The activity in 1999 led to the evacuation of 25,000 people from nearby communities.

A previous eruption of Tungurahua, around 3,000 years ago, caused a prior, partial collapse of the west flank of the volcanic cone.

This collapse led to a wide-spread debris avalanche of moving rock, soil, snow, and water that covered 80 square kilometers (31 square miles) — the equivalent of more than 11,000 football fields.

Since then, the volcano has steadily been rebuilt over time, peaking with a steep-sided cone more than 5000 m (16,400 ft) in height.

However, the new west flank, above the site of the 3000-year-old collapse, has shown repeated signs of rapid deformation while the other flanks remain stable.

The new research has shown that this deformation can be explained by shallow, temporary magma storage beneath the west flank. If this magma supply is continued, the sheer volume can cause stress to accumulate within the volcanic cone — and so promote new instability of the west flank and its potential collapse.

Dr. Hickey added: “Magma supply is one of a number of factors that can cause or contribute to volcanic flank instability, so while there is a risk of possible flank collapse, the uncertainty of these natural systems also means it could remain stable. However, it’s definitely one to keep an eye on in the future.”

Reference: “Rapid localized flank inflation and implications for potential slope instability at Tungurahua volcano, Ecuador” by James Hickey, Ryan Lloyd, Juliet Biggs, David Arnold, Patricia Mothesc and Cyril Muller, 23 January 2020, Earth & Planetary Science Letters.
DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116104

26 Comments on "Tungurahua Volcano “The Black Giant” Showing Warning Signs of “Potential Collapse”"

  1. KAMIR BOUCHAREB ST | February 23, 2020 at 12:33 am | Reply


  2. Thanks for all the research paper it was very informative..

  3. Great stuff some really good ones

  4. Very relevant content! 🙂 I have learned a lot from this article, thank you so much for sharing this!

  5. Un travail magnifique merci encore une fois

  6. Thanks for being here

  7. Thanks for being here

  8. Thanks alot for the nice article . . .

  9. Very good article . . . thanks

  10. It was a very good article. Health to your hands .

  11. Nice blog. Thank you very much

  12. Thank you so much

  13. Thank you very much for the information!

  14. thank you very much for spending the time to write this post .!!

  15. Thanks for being here

  16. Nice Article thanks for your valuable information post

  17. Nice Article thanks

  18. Really useful. I really enjoyed reading this post.

  19. I really enjoyed reading this post.

  20. Thank you a lot for this web site

  21. kamir bouchareb st | June 24, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Reply

    very goosd thanks

  22. Really like your blog thanks!..

  23. Thank you nice website .. !!

  24. Many thanks, I value this.. ..!!

  25. Thank you very much.

  26. Excellent web site you have got here.

Leave a comment

Email address is optional. If provided, your email will not be published or shared.