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Report on Colima (Mexico) — 18 January-24 January 2017


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 January-24 January 2017
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Colima (Mexico) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 January-24 January 2017. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (18 January-24 January 2017)



19.514°N, 103.62°W; summit elev. 3850 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The Unidad Estatal de Protección Civil de Colima reported that at 0027 on 18 January a moderate-to-large explosion at Colima ejected incandescent material as far as 2 km onto the W, SW, SE, and N flanks.

Based on webcam and satellite images, the Mexico City MWO, and pilot observations, the Washington VAAC reported that during 18-24 January ash plumes from Colima rose to altitudes of 4.1-6.7 km (15,000-25,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. On 19 January explosions were recorded by the webcam and noted by the Jalisco Civil protection agency; ashfall was also reported in Comala and Cuauhtémoc by the agency. A strong thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images. Remnant ash clouds were centered about 350 km SE on 20 January and about 185 km S on 22 January. A large ash plume rose to an altitude of 10.7 km (35,000 ft) a.s.l. on 23 January and drifted NE.

Geological Summary. The Colima 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 scarp, 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 recorded 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.

Sources: Unidad Estatal de Protección Civil de Colima, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)