Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — 15 February-21 February 2017
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
15 February-21 February 2017
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 February-21 February 2017. 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 14-20 February seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz continued to indicate unrest. Earthquakes were located at depths of 1.1-1.7 km, in areas N, NE, SE, and SW of the volcano, but mainly beneath Arenas Crater. The largest event was a local M 1.4. Signals indicating fracturing rock increased in both size and number as compared to the previous week. Significant amounts of water vapor and gas continued to be emitted. Gas, steam, and ash plumes rose 1.2 km above the crater rim on 18 February and drifted NE, SE, and SW. Thermal anomalies were identified by the MIROVA system during 14, 16-17, and 19-20 February. The Alert Level remained at III (Yellow; the second lowest level on a four-color scale).
Geological Summary. 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.