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Another eruption at Galeras 14 March 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, eruptions, Galeras.
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As reported here yesterday, the INGEOMINAS alert level for Galeras volcano in Colombia was raised on the evening of 12 March to the second-highest level, Orange (II). Yesterday afternoon at 15:55 local time an explosive eruption of Galeras occurred, the third within the last month. The alert level was immediately raised to Red (I), ‘eruption imminent or under way’.

The INGEOMINAS volcanological observatory at Pasto, which monitors Galeras, issued a bulletin on the eruption at 18:00 local time yesterday. Translation as follows:

The eruption of 13 March 2009 at 3:55pm, of explosive character, had a recorded duration of approximately 16 minutes;subsequently three distinct pulses were observed, at 4:16, 4:21 and 4:34pm, the last of these reached a duration of approximately 8 minutes.

At the moment of eruption, there was heavy rain in the area, with the presence of clouds, which prevented direct observation of the volcano. However, a bulletin from the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center for 5:06pm reported a column with an altitude of approximately 8km above the summit of the volcano, moving towards the north-west, but in the same way it is pointed out that cloud cover prevented a more precise observation.

In terms of seismic energy released, this eruption is larger than that of January 2008 and 14 February 2009, and corresponds to around 75% of the energy released by the eruption of 20 February 2009.

Sounds generated by the eruption were heard in the areas of San Cayetano, Anganoy (Pasto Municipality), San José de Bomboná and San Antonio (Consacá Municipality). There have been reports of ashfall in various directions from the crater of the volcano. To the east: Pasto (northern and eastern sector), Anganoy, San Cayetano and Mapachico; to the north-north-west: Pachindo, Barranco, El Rodeo, urban area of La Florida; to the north-west: villages of the upper part of Sandoná municipality. In some of these areas strong sulphur gas smells have been reported.

During the last hour, there has been a significant decrease in both the number and the amplitude of seismic signals.

There are no reported fatalities or injuries from this eruption. Evacuations of high-risk areas have once more been ordered – or rather reiterated, as the evacuation orders are still in force from the eruptions of last month. The occupation of the shelters, however, ‘is still zero’, reports El País, and the continuing failure of local inhabitants to heed the evacuation orders is causing some exasperation among local officials:

The governor of Nariño [province] Antonio Navarro Wolff again repeated the call to the eight thousand inhabitants of the zone of high risk to go to the emergency shelters, after they failed to pay attention to this preventive measure during recent eruptive episodes of Galeras. ‘It seems [the farmers] believe more in the Virgin than they do in the volcanologists’, added Navarro.

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

Nueva erupción en el volcán Galeras, evacuan las zonas aledañas – Caracol Radio, 13 March 2009
Galeras volcano erupts again – Colombia Reports, 13 March 2009
Alerta roja por nueva erupción del GalerasEl País, 14 March 2009
Por erupción en el volcán Galeras elevan a ‘rojo’ nivel de alerta, ordenan evacuar zonas de riesgoEl Tiempo, 14 March 2009
Alerta roja en Pasto por nueva erupción del GalerasLa Patria, 14 March 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