Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — 2 October-8 October 2019
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 2 October-8 October 2019
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2019. Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 2 October-8 October 2019. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
Nevado del Ruiz
4.892°N, 75.324°W; summit elev. 5279 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Servicio Geológico Colombiano’s (SGC) Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales reported that during 24 September-1 October seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz increased in both frequency and magnitude compared to the previous week. Steam-and-gas plumes rose as high as 1.4 km above the summit and drifted mainly NW. A tremor pulse recorded at 2353 on 29 September was associated with an ash plume that drifted NW and was observed by Parque Nacional Natural los Nevados (PNNN) officials, SGC staff in the field, and residents of Manizales (25 km NW). Seismicity continued to indicate gas-and-ash emissions during 1-4 October. Beginning at 0138 on 4 October seismicity increased; several ash emissions were visible during the morning in webcam images and by SGC staff in the field. The emissions rose as high has 800 m and drifted mainly NW, causing ashfall locally and in Manizales. The Alert Level remained at 3 (Yellow; the second lowest level on a four-color scale).
Geologic Background. Nevado del Ruiz is a broad, glacier-covered volcano in central Colombia that covers more than 200 km2. Three major edifices, composed of andesitic and dacitic lavas and andesitic pyroclastics, have been constructed since the beginning of the Pleistocene. The modern cone consists of a broad cluster of lava domes built within the caldera of an older edifice. The 1-km-wide, 240-m-deep Arenas crater occupies the summit. The prominent La Olleta pyroclastic cone located on the SW flank may also have been active in historical time. Steep headwalls of massive landslides cut the flanks. Melting of its summit icecap during historical eruptions, which date back to the 16th century, has resulted in devastating lahars, including one in 1985 that was South America's deadliest eruption.