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Alert at Cerro Machín, Colombia 10 November 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, Machín.
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The Colombian media this morning is full of reports of an alarming rise in activity at Cerro Machín. El Tiempo reports that about 500 inhabitants of areas near the volcano have fled to the nearby town of Cajamarca, where the authorities are providing shelter, following earth tremors and the eruption of ash. A report in Diario Occidente also speaks of ‘landslides and earthquakes’ being triggered by the ‘strong activity’ of the volcano since yesterday: ‘the emergency authorities have reported no injuries so far, but there is panic among the local population’.

On 8 November the volcanologists at INGEOMINAS reported an increase in seismicity at Machín, recording 122 volcano-tectonic earthquakes between 12:40 and 14:42 at depths of between 2 and 5km, below and to the east of the crater. In their latest Machín bulletin, of 9 November 2008, INGEOMINAS reports that ‘from 3am on Sunday 9 November there was a swarm of approximately 375 earthquakes below and towards the eastern sector of the dome of Machín’ with depths between 2.5 and 5km. Six of the earthquakes had magnitudes greater than 2.5, three of them with magnitudes greater than 3.0. Inclinometers around the volcano are reported to have shown ‘significant changes’, indicating that inflation is under way. According to the report in El Tiempo a further earthquake of 3.9M has occurred since the appearance of that report; there has also been a strong smell of sulphur in the vicinity of the volcano, and some ashfall, with ash deposits being carried downstream by local rivers.

Cerro Machín is now on alert level III (yellow), where I (red) is the highest level.

Sigue alerta por actividad de los volcanes Machín y Huila. Riesgo de erupción provoca desplazamientoEl Tiempo, 10 November 2008 (Spanish)
Volcán Machín causa caosDiario Occidente, 10 November 2008 (Spanish)
Estables pero en alerta permanecen los volcanes Machín y Nevado del HuilaEl País, 10 November 2008 (Spanish)
Alerta amarilla por actividad sísmica del volcán MachínEl Espectador, 10 November 2008 (Spanish)

Global Volcanism Program: Machín – information about Machín volcano (1501-04=)
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales – INGEOMINAS observatory responsible for monitoring Machín
Portal Corporativo de INGEOMINAS – Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería (INGEOMINAS) main page

The Volcanism Blog


1. Hawkeye - 10 November 2008

This volcano is considered one of if not the most dangerous in Colombia. It’s a dacitic volcano that has a history of producing large eruptions with plinian columns reaching 60k to 100k feet, according to the abstract of a published article/paper I found via Google. There was a quake swarm in 2004 and again early this year. It will be interesting to see if it can erupt this time.

2. josh - 11 November 2008

Wow man, you really got some information here about the Machine, sadly some of my relatives live in Calarca while i am based in NY, the latest i heart about it, was that the earth tremors index went down, here:

“Informe técnico sobre el cerro volcán Machín

El geólogo Julio César Quintero, adscrito al CLOPAD en Armenia, confirmó que el enjambre sísmico el fin de semana está directamente relacionado con la actividad volcánica del cerro volcán Machín, localizado en la Cordillera Central , departamento del Tolima, límites con el Quindío.

El experto quien con medio centenar de representantes de organismos regionales de atención y prevención de desastres visitaron el volcán el pasado sábado, confirmó que aunque en el momento de la visita sintieron varios movimientos de tierra, el Machín en la actualidad no presenta evidencia física sobre posible erupción. Sin embargo y como medida preventiva, anunció que en el Quindío se viene trabajando para orientar a la comunidad sobre este fenómeno geológico y que para ello se han implementado cartillas con instructivos que serán entregadas a la ciudadanía en los próximos días. ”

According to the this guys it looks ok, not great, but they say there is no physic evidence of eruption. Me i do not really believe what they say and think that is getting really nasty out there, and that at any moment it will erupt. At this moment my heart just bumps crazy, when i think about this

3. Boris Behncke - 11 November 2008

Well, it seems that for the moment things at Machín have really calmed down a bit, which, of course, does not mean that the crisis is over. Let’s recall that Rabaul volcano, in Papua New Guinea, started showing significant unrest (earthquakes and ground uplift) in 1983-1984, but erupted only in 1994! Volcanoes do things in much longer time spans than we do. So I would not count on things being back to “normal”, also because Machín has produced several earlier seismic crises (less intense than this latest one) during the past few months.
To keep an eye on the seismic activity at Machín, you can watch the on-line seismogram at the following link (note that the upper frame shows the Nevado del Ruiz seismicity – no good thing if that were to go up, if you recall 13 November 1985; Machín seismicity is in the lower frame, with “Cima” written in the upper right corner):


As of today, 11 November 2008, 15 h GMT, it looks very calm.

Cheers from Sicily

4. El machin - 12 November 2008

Y debemos seguir alerta porque con la naturaleza nunca se sabe…

5. Bertha sanchez - 14 November 2008

Que poblaciones se verian afectadas por la posible erupcion de volcan machin,pues vivo en el Espinal Tolima,y me gustaria saber si mi familia y yo corremos algun riesgo

6. Alvaro Barrera - 14 December 2008

We just published a map with data gathered from INGEOMINAS here :


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