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Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — November 1989

Nevado del Ruiz

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 14, no. 11 (November 1989)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) Small ash explosions; moderate seismicity

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1989. Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 14:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198911-351020

Nevado del Ruiz


4.892°N, 75.324°W; summit elev. 5279 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Seismicity . . . remained at moderate-low levels in November. Seismic energy was highest on the 22nd, when 694 low-frequency events released 1.8 x 108 ergs. High-frequency seismicity increased only slightly in the second half of the month, with events located N and SW of the active crater at 0.5-6 km depths. Low-frequency tremor was often recorded through the 15th. Brief tremor pulses occurred throughout the month, particularly in the second half, when the majority were associated with small explosions that deposited ash around Arenas crater. SO2 emissions averaged 1,770 t/d (corrected for wind conditions), a slight increase from last month's average. Dry and electronic tilt showed no significant changes.

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.

Information Contacts: C. Carvajal, INGEOMINAS, Manizales.