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Galeras update, 21 February 2009 21 February 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, eruptions, Galeras, natural hazards.
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Galeras volcano in Colombia remains at the highest alert level, Red (I), ‘eruption imminent or under way’, following yesterday’s eruptive event. The INGEOMINAS observatory at Pasto issued a further bulletin at 10:00 local time yesterday, which reads as follows:

Special Report on activity of Galeras Volcano – remains at Level I, 20 February 2009, 10:00am

The eruptive event which occurred today at 7:05am was accompanied by shock waves, generating vibratory and audible effects in several towns located in the area of Galeras volcano. There are even confirmed reports that the eruption was heard in the city of Popayán. Other reports from towns on the eastern flank of the volcano (Mapachico) say that associated with the eruption were at least two explosions, that the eruption of incandescent blocks was seen in the upper part, that there were sulphur gas smells, and the emission of ash was observed.

The initial eruptive event was associated with a seismic signal that reached a duration of approximately 13 minutes, with a seismic energy double that measured for the eruption of 14 February 2009.

The direction of the wind according to the weather station installed at the summit of Galeras is towards the west coast. There are reports of ashfall in sectors of the municipalities of Sandoná, Consacá and Ancuya, located on the west flank of Galeras.

The report of the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States reported that the eruption column presented three levels of dispersion. Above the summit of Galeras, the highest point reached an altitude of around 8km, with dispersal to the east; at an altitude of 2500m the dispersion of ash was to the west and between these two levels the ashes were moving towards the north. This variable dispersion is because of the different wind conditions at various altitudes.

Since the eruption the seismicity has shown a decrease in activity characterized by the presence of small events associated with fluid dynamics and low energy levels.

Because of the presence of magmatic material at the surface and taking into account the development of the current activity, it is possible that there will be new eruptive episodes. The level of activity at Galeras remains at Red (I) (eruption imminent or under way).

[End of INGEOMINAS bulletin.]

Martha Calvache of INGEOMINAS told Caracol Radio today that the Galeras was quiet and that poor visibility was preventing observations of activity at the volcano, but that light ashfall was still occurring. She also emphasized that it was necessary to maintain the Red Alert and that the evacuation order for at-risk areas remains in force:

The Ingeominas director asked that the volcano not be underestimated. Despite the fact that local inhabitants are used to this type of activity, Galeras is very unpredictable. What the organization wants to avoid is a possible explosion taking people by surprise and bringing about a tragedy.

The director of the state emergency response organization, Luz Amanda Pulido, also told Caracol Radio that the 8000 people in the zone of danger should evacuate to the shelters, ‘which have all the elements necessary for people to live there temporarily’.

For all our Galeras coverage: Galeras « The Volcanism Blog.

Aunque el Galeras está más tranquilo, se mantiene la alerta Roja – Ingeominas – Caracol Radio, 21 February 2009

Global Volcanism Program – Galeras – summary information for Galeras (1501-08=)
Portal Corporativo de INGEOMINAS – Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Pasto – Pasto volcanological observatory main page

The Volcanism Blog