Report on Colima (Mexico) — 6 February-12 February 2002
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 February-12 February 2002
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2002. Report on Colima (Mexico). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 February-12 February 2002. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.514°N, 103.62°W; summit elev. 3850 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 6-11 February incandescent rockfalls continued to travel down Colima's S flank extending up to 2 km from the summit. In addition, very low magnitude earthquakes continued. Scientific Advisory Committee of Colima University personnel and the authorities of Colima State determined that the continuous inflation and numerous small earthquakes that have been recorded during the past 2 weeks could lead to the formation of lava flows and pyroclastic flows. On 5 February La Yerbabuena, the nearest village to the volcano (8 km away), was evacuated. According to news reports, on 6 February University of Colima staff flew over Colima and observed lava flows travelling down the volcano's S flank. On 9 February two pyroclastic flows occurred.
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.