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Report on Galeras (Colombia) — October 1995


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 20, no. 10 (October 1995)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Galeras (Colombia) Minor seismicity and fumarolic emissions

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1995. Report on Galeras (Colombia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 20:10. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199510-351080



1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Activity during August-October remained low. Fumarolic emissions continued from areas near the active cone, with a concentration of fumaroles on the W part of the summit. SO2 concentrations, obtained by the COSPEC method, remained generally low at 53-170 metric tons/day in August and < 100 t/d in September. No deformation was detected by electronic tiltmeters during August-October. Temperature measurements at La Joya and Chavas fumaroles, as well as radon measurements, have begun in order to improve the surveillance.

High-frequency seismicity during August was centered NNE of the active crater, and consisted of events of M < 2.2 Seismic activity in September was characterized by volcano-tectonic events, located mainly in three seismogenic regions: W, SW, and NNE of the active crater. Most active was the NNE source, which has shown signs of reactivation since last March. Most earthquakes had magnitudes < 1.5. Four events during September were felt by local residents, on 3, 12, 15, and 16 September, with magnitudes of 2.5, 2.0, 2.7, and 2.7, and depths of 12, 5, 8, and 8 km, respectively. The 16 September earthquake occurred in the SW region and the other three events in the NNE region.

The most significant October seismicity consisted of high-frequency events NNE of the active cone at depths of 3-7 km; magnitudes were < 3. The largest earthquake, on the morning of 15 October, was centered ~3 km NNE of the cone at 7 km depth. It had a magnitude of 3 and was felt in Pasto, Jenoy, Narino, and in other local towns.

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: Pablo Chamorro and Diego Gomez, INGEOMINAS - Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Pasto, A.A. 1795, San Juan de Pasto, Narino, Colombia (URL: https://www2.sgc.gov.co/volcanes/index.html).