Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — 7 March-13 March 2012
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 March-13 March 2012
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2012. Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 March-13 March 2012. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
Nevado del Ruiz
4.892°N, 75.324°W; summit elev. 5279 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INGEOMINAS reported a significant increase in seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz during 5-11 March. On 8 March scientists aboard an overflight observed a gas plume that rose 1.4 km above Arenas crater, originating from multiple emission sources and thermally anomalous areas within the crater. They noted ash deposits on the glacier, near the crater rim and on the E flank, likely from an explosion on 22 February. Later that day a small explosion detected by the seismic network produced an ash emission that was observed with a camera installed in La Piranha (NW). Increased sulfur dioxide emissions were also detected. Fieldwork revealed ash deposits at the headwaters of Gualí River, SW of Arenas crater.
Geologic Background. 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.