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Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — January 1987

Nevado del Ruiz

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 12, no. 1 (January 1987)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) Seismicity, tilt, and gas emission remains stable

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1987. Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 12:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198701-351020

Nevado del Ruiz


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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The activity level fluctuated during the 11 January-11 February report period, but remained similar to the previous 30 days. Shallow, low-frequency seismic events dominated activity but a few long-period events occurred (for the first time since November) during the last 2 weeks of the report period. Larger tectonic and low-frequency events (M > 1.0) occasionally occurred at the SE limit of the active zone, 2-4 km from Arenas Crater. No clearly discernable tremor was recorded.

Electronic tilt was the quietest since the first observations in October 1985 but increased on 7 February. Very small fluctuating changes were seen from dry-tilt measurements until the end of January when small (less than a microradian/week) but consistent deformation began.

COSPEC data indicated that the SO2 emission rate remained fairly stable, averaging 1,400 t/d. However, the H2O content in the column again seemed to have increased significantly. There was no evidence of ash emissions.

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: H. Meyer, INGEOMINAS, Manizales.