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Advances in Geosciences An open-access journal for refereed proceedings and special publications

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Adv. Geosci., 14, 29-33, 2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
02 Jan 2008
Hazards of volcanic lakes: analysis of Lakes Quilotoa and Cuicocha, Ecuador
G. Gunkel1, C. Beulker1, B. Grupe2, and F. Viteri3 1Berlin University of Technology, Dept. of Water Quality Control, Germany
2Berlin University of Technology, Dept. of Water, Environment and Marine Science and Technology (VWS), Germany
3Universidad Central, Facultad de Geología Minas, Petroleo and Medio Ambiente, Quito, Ecuador
Abstract. Volcanic lakes within calderas should be viewed as high-risk systems, and an intensive lake monitoring must be carried out to evaluate the hazard of potential limnic or phreatic-magmatic eruptions. In Ecuador, two caldera lakes – Lakes Quilotoa and Cuicocha, located in the high Andean region >3000 a.s.l. – have been the focus of these investigations. Both volcanoes are geologically young or historically active, and have formed large and deep calderas with lakes of 2 to 3 km in diameter, and 248 and 148 m in depth, respectively. In both lakes, visible gas emissions of CO2 occur, and an accumulation of CO2 in the deep water body must be taken into account.

Investigations were carried out to evaluate the hazards of these volcanic lakes, and in Lake Cuicocha intensive monitoring was carried out for the evaluation of possible renewed volcanic activities. At Lake Quilotoa, a limnic eruption and diffuse CO2 degassing at the lake surface are to be expected, while at Lake Cuicocha, an increased risk of a phreatic-magmatic eruption exists.

Citation: Gunkel, G., Beulker, C., Grupe, B., and Viteri, F.: Hazards of volcanic lakes: analysis of Lakes Quilotoa and Cuicocha, Ecuador, Adv. Geosci., 14, 29-33,, 2008.