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Report on Galeras (Colombia) — December 1994


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 19, no. 12 (December 1994)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Galeras (Colombia) Low seismicity characterized by "screw-type" events

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1994. Report on Galeras (Colombia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 19:12. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199412-351080



1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Seismicity remained low in December, characterized principally by "screw-type" events (monochromatic signals with a slow declining coda) associated with pressurization phases within the volcanic system. At the beginning of the month activity was associated with rock fractures in the W sector of the active cone at depths of <3.5 km. The largest earthquake of the month, on 7 December in the W sector of the crater, was M 2.7. "Screw-type" events have been registered periodically since 20 October; 43 of these events were detected during December. The durations of these signals, taken from the analog register at the Crater-2 station, were within a range of 12-330 seconds. The latter value, from 7 December, is the longest duration recorded. Dominant frequencies were within the range of 2.19-3.48 Hz. Frequencies decreased in December to 2.24 Hz until a sharp change on 13 December to 3.13 Hz before stabilizing around this value.

Electronic tiltmeters increased their noise level because of climatic conditions; however clear stability and a minor change at the Peladitos tiltmeter started on 17 December. The ground stability was corroborated by measurements of the short leveling-line network. COSPEC measurements of SO2 showed low values of 22-50 t/d, consistent with the low degasification observed during overflights.

Geological Summary. Galeras, a stratovolcano with a large breached caldera located immediately west of the city of Pasto, is one of Colombia's most frequently active volcanoes. The dominantly andesitic complex has been active for more than 1 million years, and two major caldera collapse eruptions took place during the late Pleistocene. Long-term extensive hydrothermal alteration has contributed to large-scale edifice collapse on at least three occasions, producing debris avalanches that swept to the west and left a large open caldera inside which the modern cone has been constructed. Major explosive eruptions since the mid-Holocene have produced widespread tephra deposits and pyroclastic flows that swept all but the southern flanks. A central cone slightly lower than the caldera rim has been the site of numerous small-to-moderate eruptions since the time of the Spanish conquistadors.

Information Contacts: INGEOMINAS, Pasto.