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Nevado del Huila update, 24 October 2009 24 October 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, Nevado del Huila.
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Nevado del Huila - image from INGEOMINAS/FAC overflight, 23 October 2009 (copyright INGEOMINAS)

INGEOMINAS and the Colombian Air Force carried out an overflight of Nevado del Huila volcano yesterday, reports Observatorio Popayán in its latest bulletin:

  • Two principal foci of gas and ash emission at the surface were observed, located in the topmost part of Pico Central, the larger located between Pico Central and the upper part of the dome and the other located to the northwest of Pico Central, above the fissure generated in April 2007.
  • It is evident that there is extrusion of new magmatic material towards the surface in the extreme north of the dome constructed in November 2008 (western side), the extruded body presents a thermal anomaly observable through the FLIR camera.
  • The volcano is completely covered with ash because of the constant emissions taking place over recent days.

The report concludes by warning that Nevado del Huila ‘continues to display unstable behaviour’ and urging communities around the volcano to pay close attention to INGEOMINAS bulletins. The alert level for Huila remains at the second-highest level of Orange (Naranja), ‘eruption probable within days or weeks’.

A short video of the 23 October overflight (.mpg, 10.8 MB) is available from this page at the Popayán observatory website. The images at the top of this post and below are captures from the 23 October overflight video (copyright INGEOMINAS, reproduced here for non-commercial purposes in accordance with the terms of use).

Nevado del Huila - image from INGEOMINAS/FAC overflight, 23 October 2009 (copyright INGEOMINAS)

Nevado del Huila - image from INGEOMINAS/FAC overflight, 23 October 2009 (copyright INGEOMINAS)

Nevado del Huila - image from INGEOMINAS/FAC overflight, 23 October 2009 (copyright INGEOMINAS)

UPDATE. Washington VAAC has reported an eruption of Nevado del Huila at 17:10 UTC today which produced an ash plume to FL300 (30000 feet/9000 metres).

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

Global Volcanism Program: Nevado del Huila – summary information for Nevado del Huila (1501-05=)
INGEOMINAS Popayán – main page for the Observatorio Popayán, which monitors Nevado del Huila

The Volcanism Blog



1. jack - 25 October 2009


does anyone know how big was the 15th century of this volcano

eruption was? I was wondering does this volcano has the potential to

be another pinatubo eruption of june 1991 .

because that volcano laid dormant for more than four century before it erupted.

and does any one know how big is magma chamber is for this volcano please?

2. Boris Behncke - 25 October 2009

Nothing is known about the size of the 15th century eruption, the only information being that it was “explosive”.
I wouldn’t too much see a Pintatubo potential here, although you never know. But the volcano is building lava domes since a year, which is not usually what happens before a cataclysmic, caldera-forming eruption. It is true that Pinatubo extruded a little lava dome before it exploded, but that went on for a few days only.
There is certainly very little data available as far as the magma chamber is concerned – not much geophysical monitoring going on there. I have not heard anything about InSAR (satellite-based radar interferometry) monitoring; if there was large-scale inflation observed that should be a bit in the volcanological news. So it rather seems that this is a modest-size, largely dome-building eruption, much like many eruptions of Merapi, Indonesia. But again, with volcanoes, you never really know.

3. jack - 25 October 2009

Thankyou boris , the information you wrote was very reassuing and helpful.

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