Report on Colima (Mexico) — 18 February-24 February 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 February-24 February 2015
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Colima (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 February-24 February 2015. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.514°N, 103.62°W; summit elev. 3850 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Based on satellite images, Mexico City MWO, METAR and Colima Tower notices, pilot observations, and a webcam, the Washington VAAC reported that during 18-24 February multiple gas-and-ash plumes per day from Colima rose to altitudes of 5.5-7.3 km (18,000-24,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. Ash drifted as far as 350 km SE (on 19 February).
In a 24 February bulletin, the Unidad Estatal de Protección Civil reported that the number and size of lava-block collapses at Colima remained low during the previous week. Lava flows showed no evidence of movement. Explosive activity was low to moderate and generated plumes that rose 2-3 km and drifted downwind. Ashfall in nearby areas was persistent. Residents were warned not go within 5 km of the volcano.
Geologic Background. The Colima volcanic complex is the most prominent volcanic center of the western Mexican Volcanic Belt. It consists of two southward-younging volcanoes, Nevado de Colima (the 4320 m high point of the complex) on the north and the 3850-m-high historically active Volcán de Colima at the south. A group of cinder cones of late-Pleistocene age is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the Colima complex. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera, breached to the south, that has been the source of large debris avalanches. Major slope failures have occurred repeatedly from both the Nevado and Colima cones, and have produced a thick apron of debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex. Frequent historical eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions (most recently in 1913) have destroyed the summit and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.