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Report on Colima (Mexico) — December 1988


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 13, no. 12 (December 1988)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Colima (Mexico) Bombs ejected; small ash clouds; new fumaroles

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1988. Report on Colima (Mexico) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 13:12. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198812-341040



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

While working on a hazard map during October and November, geologists (A.L. Martín del Pozzo, C. Suarez Plascencia, R.M. Uribe, A.M. Soler, and G. Stoopes) observed that a section of the E part of the dome had caved in since their last visit at the end of January. A fumarole that had been seen since 1981 was not active in January, but its activity had resumed at an increased level by October and November, and there were two new vents that emitted vapor. On 13 November, the geologists noted three new bombs (1-, 3-, and 4-m-diameters) that had been ejected from the summit dome since January and fallen on the top of Volcancito, a parasitic cone 1 km NE of the summit. The bombs were porphyritic andesite with plagioclase, hornblende, and pyroxene phenocrysts of up to 5 mm. Univ of Guadalajara geologists climbed the volcano later in November and noted new fumarolic activity that had not been evident in April. From a highway 18-20 km E of the volcano on 22 December, Arizona State Univ geologists saw small explosions from the summit dome, producing puffs of steam and darker ash clouds, typical of recent activity at the volcano.

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: Ana Lilian Martín del Pozzo, Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM, Ciudad Univ, Delegación Coyoacán; Julian A. Flores Diaz, Instituto de Geografía y Estadísticas, Univ de Guadalajara; Michael Sheridan and Gary Stoopes, Arizona State Univ, USA.