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Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — 4 July-10 July 2012

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 July-10 July 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, 4 July-10 July 2012. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (4 July-10 July 2012)

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 during 5-9 July seismic signals at Nevado del Ruiz indicated continuing gas and ash emissions. On 6 July a gas-and-ash plume rose 400 m above the crater and drifted SW. On 8 July gas-and-ash plumes rose 400-500 m above the crater and drifted NW and W. The Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported that a gas-and-ash plume was observed in satellite imagery drifting 65 km. On 9 July INGEOMINAS noted that a gas-and-ash plume, observed with a web camera, rose around 400 m above the crater. On 10 July satellite imagery and ground-based observations showed sulfur dioxide emissions. 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.

Sources: Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Servicio Geológico Colombiano (SGC)