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Report on Colima (Mexico) — June 1988


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 13, no. 6 (June 1988)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Colima (Mexico) Fumarolic activity; rock avalanches

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1988. Report on Colima (Mexico) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 13:6. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198806-341040



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

A group from the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias Básicas (CICBAS), Universidad de Colima, visited the volcano on 24-25 May to test future sites for a local seismic network. Guillermo Castellanos and Raul López measured average temperatures of 118°C adjacent to the main fumaroles. Emissions were dense, light-gray, and toxic. Large rockfall avalanches similar to the one that originated at the base of Colima's lava dome on 2 July 1987 (12:07) have been occurring periodically. Thick sulfur deposits coated the areas around fumaroles and avalanche source areas. Contrary to some public reports, rumbling noises were not heard during the visit.

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: G. Castellanos, R. López, G. Ornelas, J.C. Pérez, C.A. Ramírez, G. Reyes, and H. Tamez, CICBAS, Universidad de Colima.