Tungurahua Volcano

Tungurahua volcano has fascinated geologists, vulcanologists, nature lovers, tourists and locals.


The volcano displays a spectacular eruption activity in the highlands of Ecuador in South America.

In recent times the Tungurahua, at 16,475 feet / 5,023 meters, has fascinated geologists, vulcanologists, nature lovers, tourists and residents with a spectacular display of eruption activity.

Snowcapped Tungurahua, 170 km. south of the City of Quito and near the spa resort town of Baños, is a young cone-shaped, red-hot active stratovolcano.

Tungurahua Volcano

tungurahua volcano

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Its medium-intensity eruptions are replete with beaming lights, thundering blasts, bellowing clouds of vapor, sulfur ashes, streams of lava and incandescent rocks tumbling down its flanks.

Visitors can watch and photograph the fireworks of this volcano from a safe distance at vantage spots on neighboring hills of Ambato city.

Even though the area of the Volcano has remained covered by clouds most of the time, it has been possible to observe, among the clouds, occasional emissions of water vapor with small amounts of ashes coming from the crater.

There have been slight tremors, not very energetic, associated with emissions of gases and ashes, and intermittent sounds from the inside of the volcano.

At midnight on Monday, February 23 2004 there was a moderate explosion with a cannon sound of moderate intensity, which generated the emission of incandescent blocks that descended 1000 meters along the flanks from the summit.

The volcano continues with a process of continuous de-gassification which may go on for various days or weeks, and could be interrupted by occasional explosions. Report updated Wednesday, February 25, 2004.

Another Report on the State of Tungurahua Volcano

In the last days there has been a reactivating in the activity of Tungurahua volcano, with emissions of vapor, gases and ashes.

Apart of this, the low temperatures registered in the zone (6° C between 23:00 and 6:00) is a cause of worry for the inhabitants of the surrounding area.

The explosions (gases with a variable content of ash) are accompanied by "bellows" and sounds like cannon shots.

Due to the strong rains in the area, small flows of mud and volcanic material have been produced.

There have also been various episodes of tremor, related to the emissions of vapor, gas and ash, and small volcano-tectonic events that are localized to the north-west of the crater (area of the Chambo river).

The occurrence of volcano-tectonic events can suggest or indicate an increase in the activity of the volcano, that is, emissions of gases and ash with more energy.

The Tungurahua Volcano has a continuous de-gasification (gases with a variable content of ash).

At night, incandescence in the summit can be observed and strombolian activity, that is, emissions of gases and ash, plus blocks that are expelled a few meters on top of the crater and then roll down the flanks of the volcano about 500 meters below the summit.

Light ash fall was reported in Banos and surrounding towns.

This Volcano has maintained an eruptive activity since the end of 1999.

The Ecuadorian Civil Defense authorities decreed, on September 5th 2000 the yellow alert for the city of Baños and orange alert for the rest of the sectors and towns located within the area considered at risk. This report was updated on April 29, 2004

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UPDATE July 2006:

The Tungurahua Volcano reactivated its eruption on Friday July 14th. People from surrounding towns had to be evacuated because of the tremendous amount of ashes coming from the volcano.

The ashes had reached the city of Duran in the province of Guayas and also the province of Los Rios (both in the coast of Ecuador)

The activity of the volcano is approximately one explosion per hour, throwing lava from different sides of its crater. Animals are dying and cultivated zones are being lost.

The Ecuadorian Civil Defense is doing its best to take care of the evacuated people, but is running out of supplies, people from all over Ecuador are trying to organize in order to send the necessary help and supplies. Different countries have also offered their help.

UPDATE November 2007:

The volcano activity has reactivated again, throwing large amounts of ashes over the surrounding villages. Cultivated areas are suffering the effects of this new eruption. People has come to get used to live with the danger and constant Tungurahua volcano eruptions.

UPDATE February/March 2009:

The volcano has covered with ashes the nearby villages again. During the nights you can hear tremendous sounds out of its crater as if cannons are being fired. Thankfully no major damages have been caused. Ten years of volcanic activity so far!

Recommended Reading

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More About Ecuador

More Volcanoes in Ecuador

Adventure Travel in Quito

Ambato City Near the Volcano

Galapagos Land Tours

If you have questions about Tungurahua Volcano, or if you'd like to request more information about our exciting Amazon Jungle Tours and from our recommended Galapagos Islands Cruise to visit these Islands, You can Contact us here

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