Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — 31 August-6 September 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 31 August-6 September 2016
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 31 August-6 September 2016. 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 23-29 August seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz was relatively unchanged compared to the previous week. Significant amounts of water vapor and gas rose from the crater. Ash emissions occurred on several days, and sometimes several times per day. Based on notices from the Bogota MWO, satellite and webcam images, and model data, the Washington VAAC reported that during 2-3 September ash plumes rose to altitudes of 6.1-6.4 km (20,000-21,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W and NW. SGC noted that gas, steam, and ash plumes occasionally rose 1.8 km above the crater rim and drifted NW and W on 4 and 6 September. The Alert Level remained at III (Yellow; the second lowest level on a four-color scale).
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.