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Galeras alert level lowered again 15 March 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, Galeras, natural hazards, volcano monitoring.
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Following the eruption on 13 March, the alert level for Colombia’s Galeras volcano has been lowered from the highest level of Red (I) to the second-highest level: Orange (II), ‘eruption probable within days or weeks’. The INGEOMINAS Pasto observatory announced the change in a bulletin released at 18:00 local time yesterday.

In the bulletin, INGEOMINAS reports episodes of long-period earthquakes and tremor directly related to periods of gas emission, with long periods of ‘significantly reduced’ seismicity. Clear weather conditions yesterday allowed the observation of emission columns with low ash content rising up to 2000m above the summit of the volcano, and light ashfall was reported in regions to the north-west. The bulletin concludes:

The recent explosive eruptions at Galeras (14 February, 20 February and 13 March) have permitted a partial release of accumulated pressure within the volcanic system. However, the presence of magmatic material at the surface requires continued monitoring of the [volcanic] process.

Despite this lowering of the alert level, reports El Tiempo, the evacuation order affecting 7000 people in the zone of high risk around the volcano remains in place. In another report the same paper notes that, despite all the efforts of the authorities to persuade them to go to the shelters, only 190 of those 7000 people have so far made the move. Caracol Radio puts the number even lower, at 75, and quotes a clearly irritated Luz Amanda Pulido of the state emergencies agency, who was asked if force would be used to compel people to take to the shelters: ‘No. A great deal of work has already been done in the area, and we cannot do anything to shift the people whose folly may cause a tragedy’.

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

A nivel 2 cambió actividad en el volcán Galeras informa IngeominasEl Tiempo, 14 March 2009
Evacuan solo 190 de los 7.000 pobladores en riesgo por erupción de volcán GalerasEl Tiempo, 14 March 2009
Baja el nivel de alerta en el Galeras. Los albergues continúan desocupados – Caracol Radio, 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