Natural Hazards

, Volume 94, Issue 3, pp 1463–1473 | Cite as

New documentary evidence of the Tungurahua eruption on April 23, 1773, Ecuador

  • Fernando Domínguez-CastroEmail author
  • Andrés González
  • Ricardo García-Herrera
  • José M. Vaquero
  • Ahmed El Kenawy
  • Marina Peña-Gallardo
  • Sergio M. Vicente-Serrano
Short Communication


Three documents describing the Tungurahua eruption of April 23, 1773, have been retrieved. The first one is a report of the eruption that has been translated, while the other two are pictographic documents of high quality. Their analysis provides previously unknown information about this eruption. The volcano was not completely inactive since 1645. The eruption started between 4 and 5 p.m. of April 23 in 1773. The maximum activity occurred during the morning of the 24th and the activity continued for more than a month. The Pastaza River was dammed by rocks and sand during 24 h, being over-flooded for almost 5.6 km. At least two lava flows reached lowlands and run into the Pastaza and Chambo Rivers, respectively. The volcanic ash caused important losses in crops and cattle in an area of more than of 3600 km2 located in the western slope of the volcano. Moreover, our primary sources provide evidences that Cerro Hermoso had an important glacier at that time and that the glacier terminus of the Tungurahua was approximately 148 m below the terminus in the early 1980s. This work is an example that an exhaustive analysis of primary documentary sources allows a better characterization of natural hazards that occurred in historical periods.


Tungurahua Documentary sources Volcanic eruption Ecuador 



The authors want to thank Ester González for her assistance in the Archivo General de Indias. This work was supported by the research projects IMDROFLOOD financed by the Water Works 2014 co-funded call of the European Commission and INDECIS, which is part of ERA4CS, an ERA-NET initiated by JPI Climate by the European Union (Grant 690462). Marina Peña-Gallardo was granted by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO), and Ahmed El Kenawy was supported by a postdoctoral Juan de la Cierva contract by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO).

Supplementary material

11069_2018_3474_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 kb)


  1. Arellano SR, Hall M, Samaniego P, Le Pennec JL, Ruiz A, Molina I, Yepes H (2008) Degassing patterns of Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador) during the 1999–2006 eruptive period, inferred from remote spectroscopic measurements of SO2 emissions. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 176(1):151–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Armijos MT, Phillips J, Wilkinson E, Barclay J, Hicks A, Palacios P, Mothes P, Stone J (2017) Adapting to changes in volcanic behaviour: formal and informal interactions for enhanced risk management at Tungurahua Volcano, Ecuador. Glob Environ Change Hum Policy Dimens 45:217–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bablon M, Quidelleur X, Samaniego P, Le Pennec J-L, Lahitte P, Liorzou C, Bustillos JE, Hidlgo S (2018) Eruptive chronology of Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador) reviseted based on new K-Ar ages and geomorphological reconstructions. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 357:378–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bernard J, Kelfoun K, Le Pennec JL, Vargas SV (2014) Pyroclastic flow erosion and bulking processes: comparing field-based versus modeling results at Tungurahua volcano, Ecuador. Bull Volcanol 76(9):858CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bustillos J, Romero JE, Troncoso L, Guevara A (2016) Tephra fall at Tungurahua Volcano (Ecuador)-1999–2014: an example of tephra accumulation from a long-lasting eruptive cycle. Geofís Int 55:55–67Google Scholar
  6. Bustillos J, Romero JE, Guevara A, Diaz-Alvarado J (2018) Tephra fallout from the long-lasting Tungurahua eruptive cycle (1999–2014): variations through eruptive style transition and deposition processes. Andean Geol 45:47–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Champenois J, Pinel V, Baize S, Audin L, Jomard H, Hooper A, Alvarado A, Yepes H (2014) Large-scale inflation of Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador) revealed by persistent scatterers SAR interferometry. Geophys Res Lett 41(16):5821–5828CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Egred J (1999) Historia de las erupciones del volcán Tungurahua. Instituto Geofísico, unpub. repGoogle Scholar
  9. Eychenne J, Le Pennec JL, Troncoso L, Gouhier M, Nedelee JM (2012) Causes and consequences of bimodal grain-size distribution of tephra fall deposited during the August 2006 Tungurahua eruption (Ecuador). Bull Volcanol 74:187–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Few R, Armijos MT, Barclay J (2017) Living with Volcan Tungurahua: the dynamics of vulnerability during prolonged volcanic activity. Geoforum 80:72–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. González Suárez F (1892) Historia General de la República del Ecuador. Imprenta del Clero, QuitoGoogle Scholar
  12. Hall M, Robin C, Beate B, Mothes P, Monzier M (1999) Tungurahua Volcano, Ecuador: structure eruptive history and hazards. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 91:1–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hall ML, Steele AL, Mothes PA, Ruiz MC (2013) Pyroclastic density currents (PDC) of the 16-17 August 2006 eruptions of Tungurahua volcano, Ecuador: geophysical registry and characteristics. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 265:78–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hall ML, Steele AL, Bernard B, Mothes PA, Vallejo SX, Douillet GA, Ramon PA, Aguaiza SX, Ruiz MC (2015) Sequential plug formation, disintegration by Vulcanian explosions, and the generation of granular pyroclastic density currents at Tungurahua volcano (2013–2014), Ecuador. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 306:90–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hidalgo S, Battaglia J, Arellano S, Steele A, Bernard B, Bourquin J, Galle B, Arrais S, Vasconez F (2015) SO2 degassing at Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador) between 2007 and 2013: transition from continuous to episodic activity. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 298:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jordan E, Hastenrath, S (1999) Glaciers of Ecuador. In: Williams RS, Ferrigno JG (eds) Satellite image atlas of the glaciers of the world—South America. USGS Professional paper 1386-I, pp 31–50Google Scholar
  17. Le Pennec JL, Samaniego P, Eissen JP, Hall ML, Molina I, Robin C, Mothes P, Yepes H, Ramón P, Monzier M, Egred J (2005) Los peligros volcánicoa asociados con el Tungurahua. Corporación Editorial Nacional, QuitoGoogle Scholar
  18. Le Pennec JL, Jaya D, Samaniego P, Ramon P, Yanez SM, Egred J, van der Plicht J (2008) The AD 1300–1700 eruptive periods at Tungurahua volcano, Ecuador, revealed by historical narratives, stratigraphy and radiocarbon dating. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 176(1):70–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Le Pennec JL, Ruiz GA, Ramon P, Palacios E, Mothes P, Yepes H (2012) Impact of tephra falls on Andean communities: the influences of eruption size and weather conditions during the 1999–2001 activity of Tungurahua volcano, Ecuador. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 217:91–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Le Pennec JL, de Saulieu G, Samaniego P, Jaya D, Gailler L (2013) A devastating Plinian eruption at Tungurahua volcano reveals formative occupation at ~ 1100 cal BC in Central Ecuador. Radiocarbon 55(3–4):1199–1214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Le Pennec JL, Ramón P, Robin C, Almeida E (2016) Combining historical and 14C data to assess pyroclastic density current hazards in Baños city near Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador). Quat Int 394:98–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Martínez N (1932) Las grandes erupciones del Tungurahua de los años 1916–1918. Imprenta Nacional, QuitoGoogle Scholar
  23. McCormick BT, Herzog M, Yang J, Edmonds M, Mather TA, Carn SA, Hidalgo S, Langmann B (2014) A comparison of satellite- and ground-based measurements of SO2 emissions from Tungurahua volcano, Ecuador. J Geophys Res Atmos 119(7):4264–4285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mothes PA, Yepes HA, Hall ML, Ramón PA, Steele AL, Ruiz MC (2015) The scientific–community interface over the 15-year eruptive episode of Tungurahua Volcano, Ecuador. J Appl Volcanol 4:9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Parra R, Bernard B, Narvaez D, Le Pennec JL, Hasselle N, Folch A (2016) Eruption source parameters for forecasting ash dispersion and deposition from vulcanian eruptions at Tungurahua volcano: insights from field data from the July 2013 eruption. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 309:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Reiss W (1873) Carta del Dr. W. Reiss a S.E. el Presidente de la República, sobre sus viajes a las montañas del sur de la capital. Imprenta Nacional, QuitoGoogle Scholar
  27. Romero JE, Douillet GA, Vargas SV, Bustillos J, Troncoso L, Alvarado JD, Ramon P (2017) Dynamics and style transition of a moderate, Vulcanian-driven eruption at Tungurahua (Ecuador) in February 2014: pyroclastic deposits and hazard considerations. Solid Earth 8(3):697–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Samaniego P, Eissen J-P, Le Pennec JL, Hall ML, Monzier M, Mothes P, Ramón P, Robin C, Egred J, Molina I, Yepes H (2003) Los peligros volcánicos asociados con el Tungurahua, serie Los peligros volcánicos en el Ecuador. Corporación Editora Nacional, QuitoCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Samaniego P, Le Pennec JL, Robin C, Hidalgo S (2011) Petrological analysis of the pre-eruptive magmatic process prios to the 2006 explosive eruptions at Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 199:69–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Steffke AM, Fee D, Garces M, Harris A (2010) Eruption chronologies, plume heights and eruption styles at Tungurahua Volcano: integrating remote sensing techniques and infrasound. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 193(3–4):143–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tobin GA, Whiteford LM (2002) Community resilience and volcano hazard: the eruption of Tungurahua and evacuation of the Faldas in Ecuador. Disaster 26(1):28–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Villavicencio M (1858) Geogrfía de la Republica de Ecuador. Robert Craighead, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  33. Wolf T (1892) Geográfia y geología del Ecuador. F.A. Brockhaus, LeipzigGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando Domínguez-Castro
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrés González
    • 2
  • Ricardo García-Herrera
    • 3
    • 4
  • José M. Vaquero
    • 5
  • Ahmed El Kenawy
    • 1
    • 6
  • Marina Peña-Gallardo
    • 1
  • Sergio M. Vicente-Serrano
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasZaragozaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y Ambiental, Escuela Politécnica NacionalQuitoEcuador
  3. 3.Departamento de Física de la Tierra y AstrofísicaUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  4. 4.Departamento de Geología Sedimentaria y Cambio MedioambientalInstituto de Geociencias IGEO (UCM-CSIC)MadridSpain
  5. 5.Departamento de FísicaUniversidad de ExtremaduraMéridaSpain
  6. 6.Department of GeographyMansoura UniversityMansouraEgypt

Personalised recommendations