Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute (IG) reports that Sangay volcano is entering “a new phase of intense activity” and warned hikers and climbers to avoid the area. Located on the western fringe of the Amazon jungle in Morona Santiago Province, Sangay has been in an active phase since 1934.
The IG reported Wednesday that the emission of volcanic ash and lava flows has been observed for several days and show signs of intensifying. At 5,230 meters, or 17,160 feet, Sangay is the most active of Ecuador’s 40 volcanoes. In recent geologic history, the volcano has had at least three eruptions that IG terms “massive,” the most recent about 14,000 years ago in which a peak estimated at 6,300 meters in elevation exploded.
A large eruption in 1628, covered Riobamba and Quito with several inches of ash and “dusted” Cuenca and the surrounding area.
Because of Sangay’s remote location in dense jungle, the IG does not see a threat to populated areas although the assessment could change in the case of large eruption. The IG said that current activity could continue for weeks or even months and that ash clouds could drift to the west and north.
Sangay is 45 miles east of Riobamba and 95 miles northeast of Cuenca.