Report on Colima (Mexico) — 14 December-20 December 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 December-20 December 2016
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Colima (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 December-20 December 2016. 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 information from the National Civil Protection coordinator, news articles reported that an explosion at Colima occurred at 0943 on 16 December, generating an ash plume that rose 2.3 km above the crater rim and drifted NNW. At 0807 on 17 December an explosion sent an ash plume 1 km above the crater that then drifted NE. Later that day at 2058 a strong explosion (the strongest registered within the past 16 months) ejected incandescent material onto the flanks and ash plumes as high as 2 km. Lava flows and rolling incandescent material traveled as far as 1.7 km down the flanks. Explosions on 18 December produced ash plumes that again rose as high as 2 km above the crater.
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 high point of the complex) on the north and the historically active Volcán de Colima at the south. A group of late-Pleistocene cinder cones is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the 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, producing thick debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex. Frequent historical eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions have destroyed the summit (most recently in 1913) and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.