Logo link to homepage

Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — October 1987

Nevado del Ruiz

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 12, no. 10 (October 1987)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) Small ash emission; seismicity; highest SO2 of 1987

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1987. Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 12:10. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198710-351020

Nevado del Ruiz


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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

A small ash emission occurred on 25 October at 0946. Seismicity had begun to migrate toward the crater in mid-October, and the activity was accompanied by a sudden increase in harmonic tremor that lasted for ~15 minutes. Tremor was otherwise very weak during October. During the month, 301 high-frequency, 593 low-frequency, and 125 shallow (explosion) events were recorded, up from 154, 533, and 15 in September. Changes in deformation remained small to moderate. Rates of SO2 emission were higher than in any previous month of 1987, with median values of close to 2,000 t/d.

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: E. Parra, INGEOMINAS, Manizales.