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Red alert in Colombia as Nevado del Huila erupts 21 November 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, eruptions, Nevado del Huila, volcanoes.
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The Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería (INGEOMINAS) issued a Special Report at 02:30 local time (07:30 GMT) today, 21 November 2008, reporting an eruption at Nevado del Huila volcano. The eruption began at 21:45 local time on 20 November (02:45 GMT 21 November 2008) and appears to have ended by the time of publication of the report. Abundant ashfall was reported, and a lahar descended the valley of the River Páez. Translation as follows:

Special report on the activity of the volcano Nevado del Huila, 21 November 2008, 2:30am.

The level of activity of the volcano is: LEVEL RED (I): ERUPTION IMMINENT OR IN PROGRESS

The INGEOMINAS volcanological and seismological observatory Popayán reports that:

– Beginning at 9:45pm local time there was an eruptive event at Nevado del Huila volcano.

– A mudflow has been generated that was channeled by the River Páez, affecting the road infrastructure of the region, according to reports received from the residents of the affected area.

– The inhabitants of Taravira, Tóez and La Estrella report abundant ashfall and noises associated with the eruptive event and the passage of the mudflow.

– The Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reports two columns of gas and ash reaching an altitude of approximately 7000 and 10000 metres, measured from the summit of the volcano, with dispersal to the west and south-west of the volcanic edifice respectively.

– At the time of publication a decrease has been observed in seismic activity. It is clear that the eruptive process has finished, although the volcanic phenomenon continues its evolution.

INGEOMINAS remains vigilant and will report in a timely manner the changes that may arise.

A report in El País this morning says that ‘the population of the municipality of Belalcázar, in Cauca [province], and some indigenous communities in the region’ have been evacuated as a result of the eruption. El Espectador reports the population of Belalcázar (which is situated on the River Páez and is vulnerable to lahars) as 13,000: while it is not clear whether the entire town has been removed, the evacuations clearly affect thousands of people.

For all our Nevado del Huila coverage: Nevado del Huila « The Volcanism Blog.

Ordenan la evacuación de BelalcázarEl País, 21 November 2008 (Spanish)
Ordenan evacuación de habitantes de BelalcázarEl Espectador, 21 November 2008 (Spanish)
Erupción del volcán nevado del Huila desató dos avalanchas en el río PáezEl Tiempo, 21 November 2008 (Spanish)
Nevado del Huila volcano erupts; thousands evacuatedColombia Reports, 20 November 2008 (Spanish)

Global Volcanism Program: Nevado del Huila – summary information for Nevado del Huila (1501-05=)
Portal Corporativo de INGEOMINAS – main page for the Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería
INGEOMINAS Popayán – main page for the Observatorio Popoyán, which monitors Nevado del Huila
Sistema Nacional para la Prevención y Atención de Desastres – main page for the Colombian national emergencies office

The Volcanism Blog



1. activolcans - 21 November 2008

Hi to the Volcanism Blog.
I read the translation of the INGEOMINAS report by The Volcanism Blog with many attention, but i think that the height of the ash plume is not clearly known.
I saw this morning the event of the Nevado del Huila, and looked first the Washington VAAC. The graph linked with the reports of the VAAC shaw only forecasts about the height, direction and streching of the potential ash plume. But this one couldn’t be seen. I looked for the GOES12 pictures, and the ash plume is not visible. This is described in the VAAC report at 04h56 TU where it is written “a report of an eruption cloud at huila at 2045z matches with large circular cloud that is very cold… possible hint of ice cloud over the top of ash. Height estimates using top temp with no other reports”. So it seems clear that VAAC doesn’t know at all the height of the plume….
The last VAAC report (11h25 TU) indicate that residual ash was seen at more that 10 000 et 13000 m, at the west and the south west of the volcano, so we can effectively think that the eruptive plume was very important (7-8-9000 m?).
Maybe we’ll have more details about this data with the OMI results….
Thanks to all, and have a very nice day.

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