Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — 13 June-19 June 2012
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 June-19 June 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, 13 June-19 June 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 on 15 June that satellite image analyses and field observers of Nevado del Ruiz indicated significant sulfur dioxide emissions. Seismic signals on 15 and 18 June indicated continuing ash emissions. Based on analysis of satellite imagery and web camera views, the Washington VAAC reported that on 17 June a 5.5-km-wide gas plume, possibly containing ash, drifted more than 90 km NW. The VAAC noted on 18 June that INGEOMINAS reported a gas-and-ash plume drifting N and NW at an altitude of 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. The plume was later detected in satellite imagery drifting more than 90 km NW. The Alert Level remained at II (Orange; "eruption likely within days or weeks") on 19 June.
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.