Logo link to homepage

Report on Galeras (Colombia) — September 1994


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 19, no. 9 (September 1994)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke.

Galeras (Colombia) Long-period seismicity continues

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1994. Report on Galeras (Colombia) (Venzke, E., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 19:9. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199409-351080



1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Long-period screw-type events (monochromatic and with a slow coda decay) continued during September. The current episode of screw-type events began on 9 August. Compared to the episodes that preceded five eruptions at Galeras during 1992-93, this episode was more intermittent, with periods of several days between events. From 9 August to 23 September there were 29 screw-type events, with frequencies of 2.4-8.5 Hz and durations of 20-180 seconds. These events were associated with pressurization phases in the volcanic system, and gas emission.

Distinct screw-type events took place until 23 September, when 100 minutes of 7.8 Hz tremor were recorded at the station 900 m NE of the crater. The tremor episode corresponded to an increase in the gas emission rate, according to aerial observations and mobile COSPEC SO2 measurements. After the tremor, a small swarm of short-duration long-period events occurred, which in the past have been associated with gas emission. This behavior, although on a smaller scale, was similar to that during and after the July 1992 and January, March, April, and June 1993 eruptions. Seismic activity stayed at low levels through the end of September; superficial low-magnitude events were related to fracturing and fluid movement (butterfly events). Low rates of deformation and SO2 emission continued.

High-frequency seismicity was located in several sectors around the volcano; the most significant activity was from a source 3.3 km NNE of the active cone, where three earthquakes originated that were felt in Pasto (9 km E) and villages such as Jenoy, Nariño, and La Florida. An earthquake on 5 September had M 2.6 and a depth of ~8.6 km. Two earthquakes on the 28th had M 2.2 and 2.9 with depths of 7.1 and 8.8 km, respectively.

Geological Summary. Galeras, a stratovolcano with a large breached caldera located immediately west of the city of Pasto, is one of Colombia's most frequently active volcanoes. The dominantly andesitic complex has been active for more than 1 million years, and two major caldera collapse eruptions took place during the late Pleistocene. Long-term extensive hydrothermal alteration has contributed to large-scale edifice collapse on at least three occasions, producing debris avalanches that swept to the west and left a large horseshoe-shaped caldera inside which the modern cone has been constructed. Major explosive eruptions since the mid-Holocene have produced widespread tephra deposits and pyroclastic flows that swept all but the southern flanks. A central cone slightly lower than the caldera rim has been the site of numerous small-to-moderate historical eruptions since the time of the Spanish conquistadors.

Information Contacts: INGEOMINAS, Pasto.