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Report on Colima (Mexico) — February 1983


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 8, no. 2 (February 1983)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Colima (Mexico) Lava extrusion ended June 1982 but plume emission continues

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1983. Report on Colima (Mexico) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 8:2. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198302-341040



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

A French team reached the N rim of the summit cone in early December. Storm damage to trails prevented them from reaching the S side of the cone, so they were unable to see the S flank lava flow produced by the eruption that began in December 1981. Only fumarolic activity was observed in the W part of the crater and on the N flank. Gas of essentially atmospheric composition was emitted at 500°C from the NE part of the cone and from a vent that had recently extruded a lava flow. Rockfalls occurred several times per day from the front of this flow and it may still have been advancing very slowly.

James Luhr and others visited Colima in mid-January and again in early February. The S flank lava flow appeared to have advanced very little since last observed by Luhr in March 1982. Residents of the area reported that incandescence had ended in June 1982. Plume emission continued in early 1983 at about the same intensity as a year earlier, but there were no episodic increases in intensity of plume emission as there had been in early 1982.

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. Cheminée, IPG, Paris; J. Luhr, Univ. of California, Berkeley.