Report on Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) — 23 August-29 August 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 23 August-29 August 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, 23 August-29 August 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) Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales reported that the eruption at Nevado del Ruiz continued at low-to-moderate levels during 22-28 August. Seismicity indicating the movement of fluids increased in number and magnitude compared to the week before; these seismic signals were most notable on 26 August and were associated with pulsating, or occasionally continuous, emissions of gas and ash. Seismicity indicating rock fracturing decreased compared to the previous week. These events were generally located below Arenas Crater and in areas within 8 km to the SE, NE, and NW at depths of less than 8 km. Ash-and-gas emissions continued, with the highest plumes rising as high as 1.3 and 2.6 km above the crater rim on 26 and at 1745 on 27 August, respectively. Plumes drifted NW, WNW, and SW and caused ashfall in Manizales (27 km NW) and Dosquebradas (40 km WSW) on 23 August, and on several other occasions during 26-28 August. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Level III (the second 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.