Guagua Pichincha and the older Pleistocene Rucu Pichincha stratovolcanoes form a broad volcanic massif that rises immediately to the W of Ecuador's capital city, Quito. A lava dome is located at the head of a 6-km-wide breached caldera that formed during a late-Pleistocene slope failure ~50,000 years ago. Subsequent late-Pleistocene and Holocene eruptions from the central vent in the breached caldera consisted of explosive activity with pyroclastic flows accompanied by periodic growth and destruction of the central lava dome. One of Ecuador's most active volcanoes, it is the site of many minor eruptions since the beginning of the Spanish era. The largest historical eruption took place in 1660, when ash fell over a 1000 km radius, accumulating to 30 cm depth in Quito. Pyroclastic flows and surges also occurred, primarily to then W, and affected agricultural activity, causing great economic losses.
An aerial view from the east shows the Pichincha volcanic complex, one of Ecuador's most active volcanoes, rising immediately above the capital city of Quito. Guagua Pichincha (left) and the sharp-topped Pleistocene Rucu Pichincha stratovolcano (right) form a broad volcanic massif overlooking Ecuador's largest city. The largest historical eruption from Guagua Pichincha took place in 1660 CE, when ash fell over a 1000 km radius, accumulating to 30 cm depth in Quito.
Photo by Patricio Ramon, 2004 (Instituto Geofisca, Escuela Politecnica Nacional).
Last updated 2019-10-14 11:00:03