New eruption at Wolf volcano, Galapagos Islands


A new eruption began at Ecuador's Wolf volcano, Galapagos around 05:30 UTC on January 7, 2022. The last eruption of this volcano took place in 2015 (VEI 4) — it was its first eruption since August/September 1982 (VEI 1).

According to the Washington VAAC, the eruption is sending possible volcanic ash and gases up to 3.6 km (12 000 feet) above sea level, drifting W, and to 5.5 km (18 000 feet) a.s.l., drifting NNE.

At this time, it is difficult to determine how much is volcanic ash and how much are gases.1

Image credit: Wilson Cabrera/Parque Galápagos

The eruption was witnessed by park rangers who were near the area carrying out various management activities of the protected area, as well as tour operators who sailed around the island of Isabela.

Ash is heading north of the island, where there is no human population at risk. Animals at the park are currently not at risk.

A sudden eruption of this volcano started at around 08:00 UTC on May 25, 2015 (VEI 4) after 33 years of sleep (1982 / VEI 1).

A Volcanic Ash Advisory issued by the Washington VAAC at 12:35 UTC said volcanic ash was reaching an altitude of 14 km (45 000 feet) a.s.l., extending 250 km (155 miles) to the S of the summit, while volcanic ash to 15.24 km (50 000 feet) a.s.l. extended 250 km ENE of the summit.2

Geologic summary

Wolf, the highest volcano of the Galápagos Islands, straddles the equator at the north end of the archipelago's largest island, Isabela. The 1 710 m (5 610 feet) high edifice has steeper slopes than most other Isabela volcanoes, reaching angles up to 35 degrees.

A 6 x 7 km (3.7 x 4.3 miles) caldera, at 700 m (2 296 feet) one of the deepest of the Galápagos Islands, is located at the summit.

A prominent bench on the west side of the caldera rises 450 m (1 476 feet) above the caldera floor, much of which is covered by a lava flow erupted in 1982.

Radial fissures concentrated along diffuse rift zones extend down the north, NW, and SE flanks, and submarine vents lie beyond the north and NW fissures.

Similar unvegetated flows originating from a circumferential chain of spatter and scoria cones on the eastern caldera rim drape the forested flanks to the sea. The proportion of aa lava flows at Volcán Wolf exceeds that of other Galápagos volcanoes.

An eruption in 1797 was the first documented historical eruption in the Galápagos Islands.3



2 Sudden eruption of Wolf volcano after 33 years of sleep, Galapagos Islands – The Watchers

3 Wolf – Geological summary – GVP

Featured image: Wolf volcano eruption on January 7, 2022. Credit: Wilson Cabrera/Parque Galápagos


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One Comment

  1. “The sunset embers smolder low,
    The Moon climbs o’er the hill,
    The peaks have caught the alpenglow,
    The robin’s song is still.
    –John L. Stoddard (1850–1931)

    Last erupted ’40’ years ago.
    Coming full moon on the 17th of Jan.
    Fittingly called,Wolf Moon.

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