Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — 16 September-22 September 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 September-22 September 2015
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 September-22 September 2015. 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)
Servicio Geológico Colombiano’s (SGC) Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales reported that during 15-21 September seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz was characterized by long-period earthquakes and short-duration volcanic tremor associated with gas-and-ash emissions. Increases in seismicity were detected on 15 and 20 September, SW and N of Arenas Crater, respectively; the earthquakes were located at depths between 2.2 and 6.5 km, and were a maximum local M 2. Water-vapor-and-gas plumes rose 2.5 km above the crater and drifted mainly NW, and were sometimes tinged gray due to the presence of ash. Ashfall was reported in Manizales (30 km NW) and Pereira (40 km WSW). The Alert Level remained at III (Yellow; "changes in the behavior of volcanic activity").
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.