Fernandina

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  • Country
  • Subregion Name
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 0.37°S
  • 91.55°W

  • 1476 m
    4841 ft

  • 353010
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

29 April-5 May 2009

According to a news article, the eruption of Fernandina that began sometime between 2200 on 10 April and 0030 on 11 April continued after about 20 days. Variable activity included steam-and-gas emissions and lava flows.

Source: Antena 3



 Available Weekly Reports


2009: April
2005: May


29 April-5 May 2009

According to a news article, the eruption of Fernandina that began sometime between 2200 on 10 April and 0030 on 11 April continued after about 20 days. Variable activity included steam-and-gas emissions and lava flows.

Source: Antena 3


15 April-21 April 2009

Based on analysis of satellite imagery and information from IG, the Washington VVAC reported that during 15-16 April gas-and-steam plumes from Fernandina drifted up to 555 km W and a thermal anomaly was detected on the W half of the island. According to news articles, the eruption caused the deaths of numerous fish and multiple sea lions that were found floating in the sea.

Sources: Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Agence France-Presse (AFP)


8 April-14 April 2009

Based on analysis of satellite imagery, IG reported that an eruption of Fernandina started sometime during 2200 on 10 April and 0030 on 11 April. Several thermal anomalies were seen on satellite imagery, possibly indicating active lava flows. A representative of the Galápagos National Park reported that tourists and park employees observed the eruption during the early hours of 11 April. According to news articles, Galápagos National Park personnel conducting an overflight indicated that the eruption occurred from a fissure on the SW flank, about 500 m from the summit crater. The fissure was 200 m long and 10 m wide, and ejected lava fountains 15 m high. A gas-and-ash plume drifted SW. The eruption took place near the site of the previous eruption in 2005.

Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Washington VVAC reported that during 11-14 April gas and possible ash plumes drifted up to 370 km W, SW, S, and N. On 14 April, a large thermal anomaly and sulfur dioxide were detected. The observatory also reported smoke from burning vegetation.

Sources: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Agence France-Presse (AFP)


25 May-31 May 2005

According to the Washington VAAC, a weak hotspot was visible at Fernandina on 29 May at 2045 and a very short narrow plume of ash and gas was visible around 2215. There were no local reports confirming an eruption. By 30 May at 0615 the emission had dissipated and only the hotspot remained visible on satellite imagery.

Source: Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


11 May-17 May 2005

On 13 May the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) received news that Fernandina, an island volcano in the Galapagos, had begun erupting that morning. Satellite photos showed a large cloud extending to the NW. On 14 May a joint Galápagos National Park and CDRS team flew over the eruption site. On approaching the island a large convection cloud could be seen rising above the main cloud layer above the volcano, but the caldera and rim could not be seen. On passing below the cloud, lava flows could be seen on the SW and S slopes. The first flow seems to have occurred more or less where the last eruption started in 1995, high on the SW slope, but from a circumferential fissure near the rim. The fissure itself could not be seen owing to the cloud on the rim, but map analysis suggests that the fissure was about 4.5 km long around the rim or just below it, with the first flows emanating from the W part of the fissure, and the latest flows from the E part. The flows descended the steepest part of the slopes quickly, and ponded on the gentler outer skirt of the island. The closest point that the lava had approached the sea on the 14th was 5.5 km from the coast. Lava passing through vegetated areas has caused small fires, but these have not spread far from the lava tongues themselves before going out. Most of the new flows have passed over unvegetated older lava.

A short time after the volcano started to erupt, the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) flying on the OrbView-2 satellite captured an image showing a thick cloud of ash and steam fanning out W of the volcano, with a smaller, slightly darker plume blowing S. This darker plume may be more ash-rich than the larger plume, or it may be smoke from fires ignited by lava flows. Washington VAAC notices reported that the W-directed plume rose to about 5 km (17,000 feet) altitude on the afternoon of 13 May, and the S-directed plume went to 9 km (30,000 feet); both were visible later that day in satellite imagery more than 200 km from the volcano.

Thermal anomalies detected in MODIS satellite imagery, provided by the University of Hawaii, abundant on 14 and 15 May, were not evident on the 16th. Hot spots were again identified at the rim and down the S flank on 17 May.

Sources: Alan Tye, Charles Darwin Research Station, NASA Earth Observatory, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts Team


Summary of eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
2009 Apr 10 2009 Apr 28 (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations SW flank (400 m)
2005 May 13 2005 May 29 (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations South caldera rim
1995 Jan 25 1995 Apr 8 (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations SW flank
1991 Apr 19 1991 Apr 24 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Base of ESE and NW caldera wall
1988 Sep 14 1988 Sep 16 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations East caldera wall
1984 Mar 30 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations NW corner of caldera
1981 Aug 1 ± 270 days Unknown Confirmed 0 Historical Observations South caldera rim
1978 Aug 8 1978 Aug 26 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations NW caldera bench
1977 Mar 23 1977 Mar 27 Confirmed 1 Historical Observations SE caldera bench
1973 Dec 9 1973 Dec 16 ± 1 days Confirmed 2 Historical Observations ESE caldera wall
1972 Jun 4 ± 45 days Unknown Confirmed 0 Historical Observations SE caldera bench
1968 Jun 11 1968 Jul 4 (in or before) Confirmed 4 Historical Observations West caldera wall
1968 May 21 1968 May 23 ± 1 days Confirmed 2 Historical Observations ESE flank (600 m)
1961 Mar 21 ± 1 days 1961 Sep Confirmed 2 Historical Observations SE flank
1958 Sep (?) 1958 Dec 30 (in or after) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations SE, SW and west caldera rim
1937 Mar 1937 Apr Confirmed 0 Historical Observations
1927 Dec 13 (in or before) Unknown Confirmed 0 Historical Observations South flank near Punta Mangle
1926 Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations
1888 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations
1846 Nov Unknown Confirmed 0 Historical Observations East flank
1825 Feb 14 1825 Oct (in or after) Confirmed 3 Historical Observations East summit and SE flank
1819 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1817 (in or before) Unknown Confirmed 2 Unknown
1814 Jul 1814 Aug Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1813 Jul 14 (in or before) Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations South flank
1550 (after) Unknown Confirmed 0 Surface Exposure
1150 (after) Unknown Confirmed 0 Surface Exposure
0950 ± 500 years Unknown Confirmed 0 Surface Exposure

The following references are the sources used for data regarding this volcano. References are linked directly to our volcano data file. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title. Additional discussion of data sources can be found under Volcano Data Criteria.

Allan J F, Simkin T, 2000. Fernandina volcano's evolved, well-mixed basalts: mineralogical and petrological constraints on the nature of the Galapagos plume. J Geophys Res, 105: 6017-6041.

Chadwick W W, De Roy T, Carrasco A, 1991. The September 1988 intracaldera avalanche and eruption at Fernandina volcano, Galapagos Islands. Bull Volc, 53: 276-286.

Green J, Short N M, 1971. Volcanic Landforms and Surface Features: a Photographic Atlas and Glossary. New York: Springer-Verlag, 519 p.

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

McBirney A R, Williams H, 1969. Geology and petrology of the Galapagos Islands. Geol Soc Amer Mem, 118: 1-197.

Naumann T, Geist D, 2000. Physical volcanology and structural development of Cerro Azul volcano, Isabela Island, Galapagos: implications for the development of Galapagos-type shield volcanoes.. Bull Volc, 61: 497-514.

Richards A F, 1962. Archipelago de Colon, Isla San Felix and Islas Juan Fernandez. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 14: 1-50.

Rowland S K, Harris A J L, Wooster M J, Amelung F, Garbeil H, Wilson L, Mouginis-Mark P J , 2003. Volumetric characteristics of lava flows from interferometric radar and multispectral satellite data: the 1995 Fernandina and 1998 Cerro Azul eruptions in the western Galapagos. Bull Volc, 65: 311-330.

Rowland S K, Munro D C, 1992. The caldera of Volcan Fernandina: a remote sensing study of its structure and recent activity. Bull Volc, 55: 97-109.

Simkin T, 1984. Geology of Galapagos Islands. In: Perry R (ed) {Galapagos}, Oxford: Pergamon, p 15-41.

Simkin T, Howard K A, 1970. Caldera collapse in the Galapagos Islands, 1968. Science, 169: 429-437.

Fernandina, the most active of Galápagos volcanoes and the one closest to the Galápagos mantle plume, is a basaltic shield volcano with a deep 5 x 6.5 km summit caldera. The volcano displays the classic "overturned soup bowl" profile of Galápagos shield volcanoes. Its caldera is elongated in a NW-SE direction and formed during several episodes of collapse. Circumferential fissures surround the caldera and were instrumental in growth of the volcano. Reporting has been poor in this uninhabited western end of the archipelago, and even a 1981 eruption was not witnessed at the time. In 1968 the caldera floor dropped 350 m following a major explosive eruption. Subsequent eruptions, mostly from vents located on or near the caldera boundary faults, have produced lava flows inside the caldera as well as those in 1995 that reached the coast from a SW-flank vent. Collapse of a nearly 1 cu km section of the east caldera wall during an eruption in 1988 produced a debris-avalanche deposit that covered much of the caldera floor and absorbed the caldera lake.