Tungurahua, Galapagos

Ecuador, 13.3 - 1.4.2008

For many years the Tungurahua is now active, but always during my presence I had pitch with the weather and the current activity. For this I decided to make a rest for some days on the way to the Galapagos Island and to pursue the activity purposefully. A very good observation point is the area around the Hacienda Manteles in the area of the place Patate.

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Therefore I lived on this beautiful Hacienda from the 13th to the 18th of March. Despite having doubts of the rain time, particular directly after heavy rain and flooding the weather average was quite good. From these 5 days statistically the 5000m of high volcano was visible only 1-2 times.


Nevertheless the Tungurahua was visible each day, except being coated often by hazy shreds. The strong expansion of the now powerful summit crater was clearly evident compared with the situation the year 2000.
The crater drops now down to the west.


Despite the surprisingly sunny weather and an observation time of 5 days Murphy had to fight out his law. After strong activity with violent ejections a half week ago, whereby the inhabitants of the hacienda did nearly felt out of their beds, the activity lasts at my attendance to the minimum. Only constant degassing with ash portions could be observed.
Particularly in the afternoon hours several times kilometre-high ash clouds arose, however accompanied by no glowing ejection or acoustics. Only in the last night before the departure a red glow was shown up for 1 minute at the beginning of an ash eruption.


This should may be the beginning of a new activity cycle, because now (April/May) the Tungurahua is again lively with strombolian activity including acoustics. Although the hacienda Manteles offers the possibility of numerous bird migrations, of animal observations (hummingbirds), land life and at least it is an optimal place to the relax.


On the way to Quito an attendance of the Quilotoa Kraterlagune is it worthwhile.


Starting to the direction Galapagos, I was accompanied with a group, since the entrance of many regions on this archipelago is permitted only with leader. The flood disaster of the previous weeks showed up large parts of this region stood under water around Guayaquil.

In the context of this extreme weather you could experience now the Hot Spot Galapagos at your own. The rain flood which came down on the actually dry islands of Galapagos covered them with a green carpet. The air humidity was very high in combination with aggressive mosquito swarms and in any case it was more arduously than the 41°C of the Danakil depression one month ago. All these islands are of volcanic origin, but only a few are still active. The principal reason for this journey was the famous animal meeting.




San Cristobal: The former volcanic pipe Leon Dormido opposes still against the sea. Isabela: A three-day-long trekking along the Sierra Negra with its 11km in diameter-measuring enormous Caldera leads at first to the Volcan de Azufre.



Although for a long time not active, here numerous fumaroles and sulphur withdrawals are steaming up to now. In contrast to the volcano Chico which is repeatedly active, this young landscape reminded to the Caldera of Timanfaya on Lanzarote. However, numerous cactuses are able to survive here.



Directly at the edge of the Chico you can see the eruption place from autumn 2005. During this eruption spectacular lava fontains could be observed, which brought forward enormous lava quantities over 1.5 weeks. Large parts of the caldera bottom were flooded with lava.

Santa Cruz:


The twin crater Gemelos inside the island showed no active volcanism. Enormous lava tunnels with up to 10m height are witnesses of long-continuous lava rivers in the former active volcanism time of this island

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©2008 Photos und Text by M.Rietze (mr),last modification 16.5.2008

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