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Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — 19 April-25 April 2023

Nevado del Ruiz

Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 19 April-25 April 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, 19 April-25 April 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (19 April-25 April 2023)

Nevado del Ruiz


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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Servicio Geológico Colombiano’s (SGC) Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales reported that the eruption at Nevado del Ruiz continued during 18-25 April and was characterized by gas, steam, and ash emissions, thermal anomalies at the lava dome in Arenas Crater, and elevated seismicity. Seismic signals indicating rock-fracturing events were located 1-3 km W, SW, NE, and E of Arenas Crater and below the crater, at depths of 0.4-6.2 km. The largest event, a M 1.7, was recorded at 1735 on 24 April and was located 4.1 km E of the crater, at a depth of 3.2 km. The event was felt by residents in the Lagunilla river canyon. Additionally, signals indicating fluid movement fluctuated in intensity and were associated with daily gas-and-steam emissions, sometimes containing ash, that rose as high as 1.8 km above the crater rim. At 0711 on 18 April an ash plume rose 1.8 km above the crater rim and drifted SE, causing ashfall in the municipality of Anzoátegui, Tolima. At 2235 on 19 April and at 2248 on 21 April ash plumes rose 1.8 km and drifted SSE. Gas emissions with possible ash rose as high as 1.3 km and drifted SW and E during 20-21 April. Pulsating ash emissions were seen in webcam images during 23-25 April. The Alert Level was remained at Orange, Level II (the second highest level on a four-level 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.

Source: Servicio Geológico Colombiano (SGC)