Report on Colima (Mexico) — 10 December-16 December 2003
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 December-16 December 2003
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Colima (Mexico). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 December-16 December 2003. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.514°N, 103.62°W; summit elev. 3850 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
As of 12 December there was an average of three explosions per day at Colima that rose 2-3 km above the crater. Most of the ash from these explosions drifted ENE. A significant explosion on 11 December at 0258 sent volcanic bombs down the NE and N flanks and deposited ash in the city of Ciudad Guzmán, 25 km to the NE. According to the Washington VAAC, ash from an explosion on 14 December was visible on satellite imagery at a height of ~6 km a.s.l.
Geologic Background. The Colima volcanic 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 caldera, 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 historical 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.