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Cayambe Volcano, Ecuador

 Cayambe Volcano, Ecuador, Volcano photo


Cayambe Volcano, Ecuador

The massive compound Cayambe stratovolcano, seen here from the SW across Ecuador's Interandean Depression, is the northernmost of a chain of large, glacier-covered Holocene volcanoes along the western edge of the Cordillera Real.

No historical eruptions are known from 5790-m-high Cayambe, although lava flows on the flanks of the volcano have very young morphologies.

Pyroclastic-flow deposits of possible Holocene age are present.

The massive compound andesitic-dacitic Cayambe stratovolcano is located on the isolated western edge of the Cordillera Real, east of the Inter-Andean Valley.

The 5790-m-high volcano, whose southern flank lies astride the equator, is capped by extensive glaciers, which descend to 4200 m on the eastern Amazonian side.

The modern Nevado Cayambe volcano, constructed to the east of older Pleistocene volcanic complexes, contains two summit lava domes located about 1.5 km apart, the western of which is the highest.

Several other lava domes on the upper flanks have been the source of pyroclastic flows that reached the lower flanks of the volcano.

A prominent Holocene pyroclastic cone on the lower eastern flank, La Virgen, fed thick andesitic lava flows that traveled about 10 km to the east.

Nevado Cayambe was recently discovered to have produced frequent explosive eruptions during the Holocene beginning about 4000 years ago, and to have had a single historical eruption, during 1785-86.

PHOTO SOURCE: Minard Hall, 1982 (Escuela Politecnica Nacional, Quito), courtesy of the Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, used with permission.


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