Caldera Collapse in the Galápagos Islands, 1968

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  31 Jul 1970:
Vol. 169, Issue 3944, pp. 429-437
DOI: 10.1126/science.169.3944.429


The summit caldera of Isla Fernandina, a large, uninhabited basaltic shield volcano, was further enlarged by 1 to 2 km3 in June 1968. A small quake and large vapor cloud on 11 June were followed 4 hours later by a remarkable volcanic ash cloud and, after another hour, by a major explosion recorded at infrasonic stations throughout the hemisphere. Seismic activity increased to a peak on 19 June, when more than 200 events per day were recorded by a seismograph 140 km away. Several hundred quakes were in the magnitude range 4.0 to 5.4 mb, but few such events were recorded after 23 June. Unusual lightning accompanied the major cloud, and, during the evening of 11 June, distant observers reported red glow and flashes from the area. Fine ash fell that night and much of the next day to distances at least 350 km from the volcano.

Stay Connected to Science