Stunning volcanic eruptions filmed in real time

Here we have some pretty amazing shots of the Ecuadorian volcano Reventador erupting between January 5 and 7 of this year, and filmed by Martin Rietze. It’s quite active, and there are two sites reporting the activity (here, and a better one here).  The curious thing is that, as the second site reports, January 2020 wasn’t a particularly active time—even though there were daily explosions! From the second site:

Volcanism in January 2020 was relatively low compared to the other months of this reporting period. Explosions continued on a nearly daily basis early in the month, ranging from 20 to 51. During 5-7 January incandescent material ejected from the summit vent moved as block avalanches downslope and multiple gas-and-steam and ash plumes were produced (figures 120, 121, and 122). After 9 January the number of explosions decreased to 0-16 per day. Ash plumes rose between 4.6 and 5.8 km altitude, according to the Washington VAAC.

Here’s the location:


. . . and the YouTube notes, showing it in real time, but during several periods. The noise is amazing, as are the lava flows. At 45 seconds in, you can see the shock wave spreading through the atmosphere before the big blow.

Reventador volcano, Ecuador. Activity documented between 5.-7.Jan.2020. Filming in real time (including nighttime with near full moon). Rare highres material showing vulcanian and strombolian with volcanic lightning and shockwave. Now with real sound! Filmed from observation point in 4,5km distance east of the main summit cone.

If you film it, it’s about 11 seconds from the visible explosion to the sound, or a bit less than 4 km of distance, comporting with the description, though the sound probably started before the large eruption.


  1. Posted September 12, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this, Jerry; I LOVE volcanoes!

    • jezgrove
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Me too – but at a sensible distance…!

    • grasshopper
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      A lava-lover? I hope your friendship is just plutonic.

  2. rickflick
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    The slope of the cone looks to be about 30 degrees, the angle of repose.

  3. Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    I was near the top of that volcano looking for plants about 20 years ago. Looks like there won’t be any more plants there for a while.

  4. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 13, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Nice pick

    It is particularly good – I wonder about the specs of the camera.

    The comments sat at 2:23 or 2:24 there’s a “shooting star” near the right base of the volcano, but I couldn’t see it.

    Another comment by “The Man” does the math:

    Eruption at 0:02
    9s delay
    Speed of sound 343 m/s
    d=343(9)=3.09 km

  5. Posted September 13, 2020 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful to observe from another continent, not my yard, and well after the fact.

    I live in Washington. I lived in Oregon when Mt. St. Helens blew. I try always to maintain a positive attitude but what with Trump, Red-Blue apartheid, racial inequities, police brutality, BLM, Covid 19, climate change leading to devastating fires all over the western U.S. (and other disastrous weather-related phenomena elsewhere), I can’t help but think about what more could happen now. And, I’m well aware that we live near active volcanos as well as over faults.

    Does anyone have any good news?

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