Logo link to homepage

Report on Colima (Mexico) — October 1991


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 16, no. 10 (October 1991)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Colima (Mexico) Landslides and thermal activity

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1991. Report on Colima (Mexico) (McClelland, L., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 16:10. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199110-341040



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The rainy season limited summit observations in August and September, often cloaking the volcano in clouds, and severely damaging the unpaved access road. By October, however, aerial reconnaissance and distant ground observations indicated changes to summit morphology. Some landslides had apparently occurred along the 1975 flow levees on the main cone's SE flank, and weak steam clouds rose from points along the 1975 lava. The SSW flank was occupied by the March-April 1991 lava flow, which stopped after descending to 2,600 m altitude. The flow is about 100-125 m wide and reaches a maximum thickness of 25 m, with a central depression about 10 m deep. [Deposits produced after the partial collapse of the summit lava dome on 16 April were eroded during the rainy season, leaving new ravines 5-15 m deep. See follow-up report in BGVN 17:06.]

Fumarolic activity has been irregular, appearing strong on some days, weaker on others. Fumaroles were concentrated in the area of the 1991 lava flow outlet and on the NE part of the summit dome. Weak fumaroles were also visible on zones of expansion on the main dome.

Geological Summary. The Colima complex is the most prominent volcanic center of the western Mexican Volcanic Belt. It consists of two southward-younging volcanoes, Nevado de Colima (the high point of the complex) on the north and the historically active Volcán de Colima at the south. A group of late-Pleistocene cinder cones is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the complex. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide scarp, 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, producing thick debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex. Frequent recorded eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions have destroyed the summit (most recently in 1913) and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.

Information Contacts: J. Flores, J. Hernández, R. Saucedo, A. Cortés, C. Valencia, and R. García, CICT, Universidad de Colima; Z. Jiménez, Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM.