Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — 15 March-21 March 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 March-21 March 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 March-21 March 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
Nevado del Ruiz
4.892°N, 75.324°W; summit elev. 5279 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Servicio Geológico Colombiano (SGC) reported that several ash emissions at Nevado del Ruiz were visible in webcam images and reported by residents during 18-20 March. The emissions were associated with seismic signals indicating fluid movement in the conduit. An ash emission at 0902 on 20 March rose 2.7 km above the summit and drifted SW. It was one of the tallest plumes recorded in recent days and was visible from the municipalities of Caldas, Tolima, and Risaralda. The Alert Level remained at 3 (Yellow; the second lowest level on a four-color scale).
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.