Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 70, Issue 6, pp 655–673

The 2005 eruption of Sierra Negra volcano, Galápagos, Ecuador


    • Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of Idaho 3022
  • Karen S. Harpp
    • Geology DepartmentColgate University
  • Terry R. Naumann
    • Geology DepartmentUniversity of Alaska
  • Michael Poland
    • USGS-HVO
  • William W. Chadwick
    • Hatfield Marine Science CenterOregon State University
  • Minard Hall
    • Instituto GeofisicoEscuela Politecnica Nacional
  • Erika Rader
    • Geology DepartmentColgate University
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00445-007-0160-3

Cite this article as:
Geist, D.J., Harpp, K.S., Naumann, T.R. et al. Bull Volcanol (2008) 70: 655. doi:10.1007/s00445-007-0160-3


Sierra Negra volcano began erupting on 22 October 2005, after a repose of 26 years. A plume of ash and steam more than 13 km high accompanied the initial phase of the eruption and was quickly followed by a ~2-km-long curtain of lava fountains. The eruptive fissure opened inside the north rim of the caldera, on the opposite side of the caldera from an active fault system that experienced an mb 4.6 earthquake and ~84 cm of uplift on 16 April 2005. The main products of the eruption were an `a`a flow that ponded in the caldera and clastigenic lavas that flowed down the north flank. The `a`a flow grew in an unusual way. Once it had established most of its aerial extent, the interior of the flow was fed via a perched lava pond, causing inflation of the `a`a. This pressurized fluid interior then fed pahoehoe breakouts along the margins of the flow, many of which were subsequently overridden by `a`a, as the crust slowly spread from the center of the pond and tumbled over the pahoehoe. The curtain of lava fountains coalesced with time, and by day 4, only one vent was erupting. The effusion rate slowed from day 7 until the eruption’s end two days later on 30 October. Although the caldera floor had inflated by ~5 m since 1992, and the rate of inflation had accelerated since 2003, there was no transient deformation in the hours or days before the eruption. During the 8 days of the eruption, GPS and InSAR data show that the caldera floor deflated ~5 m, and the volcano contracted horizontally ~6 m. The total eruptive volume is estimated as being ~150×106 m3. The opening-phase tephra is more evolved than the eruptive products that followed. The compositional variation of tephra and lava sampled over the course of the eruption is attributed to eruption from a zoned sill that lies 2.1 km beneath the caldera floor.


CalderaBasaltGalápagosTephraLava flow emplacementVolcano deformationMagma chamber processes

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© Springer-Verlag 2007