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Report on Colima (Mexico) — November 1991

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 16, no. 11 (November 1991)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Colima (Mexico) B-type earthquakes and avalanche events

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1991. Report on Colima (Mexico). In: McClelland, L (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 16:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199111-341040.

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19.514°N, 103.62°W; summit elev. 3850 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

August seismicity included 79 B-type events with recorded amplitudes exceeding 15 mm. A few moderate Merapi-type avalanches were seismically recorded, but weather conditions prevented visual observations. The longest series of avalanches lasted 1.5 hours on 20 August, 30 minutes on 28 August, and 2 hours on 30 August. Total seismic activity and the number of Merapi-type avalanches decreased significantly in September, but rose in October, with seismicity returning to near August levels.

Seismic monitoring was somewhat impaired by lightning damage and lack of sunlight to charge the instruments' solar batteries. All of the RESCO stations were repaired by 24 August with the support of a Ministry of Defense helicopter. Additional lightning damage was repaired by 26 October, and all RESCO stations were operative as of early December.

Geologic Background. The Colima volcanic complex is the most prominent volcanic center of the western Mexican Volcanic Belt. It consists of two southward-younging volcanoes, Nevado de Colima (the 4320 m high point of the complex) on the north and the 3850-m-high historically active Volcán de Colima at the south. A group of cinder cones of late-Pleistocene age is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the Colima complex. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera, breached to the south, that has been the source of large debris avalanches. Major slope failures have occurred repeatedly from both the Nevado and Colima cones, and have produced a thick apron of debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex. Frequent historical eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions (most recently in 1913) have destroyed the summit and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.

Information Contacts: A. Nava, F.J. Núñez-Cornú, G. Reyes, J. Flores, R. Saucedo, H. Tamez, J. Hernández, A. Cortés, C. Valencia, and R. García-Arthur, CICT, Universidad de Colima; Z. Jiménez and S. de la Cruz-Reyna, UNAM