Report on Galeras (Colombia) — 12 July-18 July 2006
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 July-18 July 2006
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Galeras (Colombia). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 July-18 July 2006. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
According to a news article, on 12 July the Colombian government ordered the evacuation of ~10,000 people living near Galeras due to an increase in volcanic activity. INGEOMINAS reported an increase in seismic activity and at least two explosive eruptions. Ash accumulated about 10 km N and NE in the towns of La Florida and Nariño and 5 km NE in the town of Genoy. The Alert Level was increased from 2 (probable eruption in days to weeks) to 1 (eruption imminent or occurring). On 13 July, due to a decrease in activity, the Alert Level was lowered from 1 to 3 (changes in the behavior of volcanic activity have been noted). Approximately 2,000 people had been taken to shelters.
Geologic Background. Galeras, a stratovolcano with a large breached caldera located immediately west of the city of Pasto, is one of Colombia's most frequently active volcanoes. The dominantly andesitic complex has been active for more than 1 million years, and two major caldera collapse eruptions took place during the late Pleistocene. Long-term extensive hydrothermal alteration has contributed to large-scale edifice collapse on at least three occasions, producing debris avalanches that swept to the west and left a large horseshoe-shaped caldera inside which the modern cone has been constructed. Major explosive eruptions since the mid-Holocene have produced widespread tephra deposits and pyroclastic flows that swept all but the southern flanks. A central cone slightly lower than the caldera rim has been the site of numerous small-to-moderate historical eruptions since the time of the Spanish conquistadors.