Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — 11 April-17 April 2012
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 April-17 April 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, 11 April-17 April 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)
According to INGEOMINAS, the Observatorio Vulcanológico and Sismológico de Manizales reported that seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz decreased during 11-15 April then slightly increased during 16-17 April. Earthquakes were located below or N of Arenas crater at depths of 1.5-2 km during 11-12 April. Earthquake events at 1146 and 1149 on 15 April were possibly associated with ash emissions which were not verified due to weather conditions. Earthquakes detected on 16 April occurred E of Arenas crater at depths of 1.5-4 km.
Gas-and-steam plumes were observed mainly in satellite imagery, by cameras located near the volcano, and from the city of Manizales (25 km NW). On 12 April a sulfur odor was reported in the towns of Lebanon, Palocabildo, and Fresno (Tolima). Observes in Manila reported a gas-and-steam plume that rose 1.8 km above the crater on 16 April. The Alert Level remained at II (Orange; "eruption likely within days or weeks").
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.