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Report on Colima (Mexico) — February 1982


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 7, no. 2 (February 1982)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Colima (Mexico) Lava extrusion continues; airborne plume sampling

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1982. Report on Colima (Mexico) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 7:2. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198202-341040



19.514°N, 103.62°W; summit elev. 3850 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

"Colima was observed from the air for 3 hours around mid-day 20 February as part of the Research on Active Volcanic Emissions (RAVE) sampling mission. The volcano had an apparently active block lava flow descending from the summit down the S flank for several hundred meters. Below this level was active scree. The flow was gray, contrasting with the various browns of the earlier lava units. Heat waves emanated from the flow and rockfalls were rare, indicating a slow extrusion rate. The volcano had a significant gaseous plume that was sampled and measured by the RAVE Electra aircraft with a complete battery of atmospheric sampling gear. During the sampling, one short (30-second) burst of gaseous emission occurred, in which the emission rate approximately doubled."

Further Reference. Casadevall, T., Rose, W.I. Jr., Fuller, W., Hunt, W., Hart, M., Moyers, J., Woods, D., Chuan, R., and Friend, J., 1984, Sulfur dioxide and particles in quiescent volcanic plumes from Poás, Arenal, and Colima volcanoes, Costa Rica and México: JGR, v. 89, no. D6, p. 9633-9641.

Geological Summary. The Colima complex is the most prominent volcanic center of the western Mexican Volcanic Belt. It consists of two southward-younging volcanoes, Nevado de Colima (the high point of the complex) on the north and the historically active Volcán de Colima at the south. A group of late-Pleistocene cinder cones is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the complex. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide scarp, breached to the south, that has been the source of large debris avalanches. Major slope failures have occurred repeatedly from both the Nevado and Colima cones, producing thick debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex. Frequent recorded eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions have destroyed the summit (most recently in 1913) and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.

Information Contacts: W. Rose, Jr., Michigan Tech. Univ.; T. Casadevall, USGS; W. Zoller, Univ. of Maryland; W. Fuller, NASA Langley Research Center.