Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — 31 May-6 June 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 31 May-6 June 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, 31 May-6 June 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’s (SGC) Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales reported that the eruption at Nevado del Ruiz continued during 31 May-6 June and was characterized by periodic gas, steam, and ash emissions, and thermal anomalies at the lava dome in Arenas Crater. Seismicity fluctuated at low levels; on 31 May SGC stated that during the past several days seismicity had decreased compared to the previous weeks. Daily gas-and-steam emissions were visible in webcam images and contained ash on most days; emissions rose as high as 2 km above the crater and mainly drifted NW. Ash emissions were confirmed in satellite images on the other days according to the Washington VAAC. A significant thermal anomaly was observed within the crater on 31 May. That same day a sulfur odor was reported in Cerro Gualí. Minor ashfall was reported in the municipalities of Villamaría (28 km NW) and Manizales (28 km NW) on 4 June. 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.