Report on Galeras (Colombia) — 1 August-7 August 2012
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 August-7 August 2012
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2012. Report on Galeras (Colombia). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 August-7 August 2012. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
1.22°N, 77.37°W; summit elev. 4276 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INGEOMINAS reported that during 31 July-6 August the magnitude and occurrence of earthquakes detected at Galeras had increased since the previous week. Gas plumes sometimes containing tephra rose from the crater. Observatory staff working near the crater reported a strong sulfur odor on 1 and 6 August. On 3 August a steam plume rose 1.1 km above the crater. On 4 August ash emissions were observed in the morning, and at 1519 a seven-minute-long episode of tremor was accompanied by a gas-and-ash plume that rose 1.4 km above the crater and drifted N. Ashfall was reported in Genoy, 6 km NE. An ash plume rose from the crater on 7 August. The Alert Level remained at III (Yellow; "changes in the behavior of volcanic activity").
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.