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Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — January 1990

Nevado del Ruiz

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 15, no. 1 (January 1990)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) Four high-frequency seismic swarms N of the crater; weak tremor pulses but no ash emission; SO2 emission low

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1990. Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) (McClelland, L., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 15:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199001-351020

Nevado del Ruiz


4.892°N, 75.324°W; summit elev. 5279 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Seismicity was at low levels during the first ten days of January, then the number and energy release of high-frequency events increased significantly. Swarms of high-frequency events, mostly centered in a zone ~6 km N of the crater at ~6 km depth, caused four energy release peaks (figure 36). A small number of low-frequency events were recorded during the month. Short pulses of low-energy tremor were not associated with ash emission. Deformation measurements showed no significant changes in January. Five SO2 measurements during January yielded an average of 980 t/d, only about half that of the previous month.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 36. Daily seismic energy release at Ruiz, January 1990. Low-frequency events are shown by a dashed line, high-frequency events by a solid line. Courtesy of INGEOMINAS.

Geological Summary. 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.

Information Contacts: C. Carvajal, INGEOMINAS, Manizales.