Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — 5 April-11 April 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 April-11 April 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 April-11 April 2023. 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) reported that the number of daily events detected by the seismic network at Nevado del Ruiz fluctuated during 3-8 April but declined overall. Earthquakes were generally located 2-5 km SW of Arenas Crater at depths of 3-4 km. On 9 April SGC noted that daily counts of events were no longer going to be posted in their daily reports and instead the focus will be on the location of the earthquakes. Gas emissions had also decreased in density. That same day Gestión del Riesgo de Desastres (UNGRD) reported that 2,000-2,500 families had been identified as living in high-risk areas and requested that local authorities expedite a preventive evacuation; families that had evacuated were staying with family and friends and not in evacuation shelters.
During 3-11 April the earthquakes were associated with daily emissions of gas-and-steam and gas-and-ash plumes. Ash-and-gas plumes rose as high as 1.5 km above the crater rim on 3 April and drifted NW and SW. During 6-7 April several pulsating ash emissions were observed in webcam images and by residents of La Cabaña (Murillo, Tolima). The emissions rose as high as 1.5 km and drifted SE and NE. Webcam images and La Cabaña residents again saw ash emissions on 10 April, rising as high as 1.8 km and drifting E and NE. Thermal anomalies from Arenas Crater were periodically visible through the week. The Alert Level was remained at Orange, Level II (the second highest level on a four-level 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.