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The Galeras eruption of 2 January 2010 5 January 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, eruptions, Galeras.
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In Colombia, ever-active Galeras volcano erupted in the evening of 2 January 2010, causing ashfall nearly 40 km away and producing a plume that reached more than 12,000 metres altitude (here’s an ash advisory for the eruption issued at 02:28 UTC on 3 January 2010, reporting ash at FL400, which is 40,000 feet/12,200 metres*). No injuries were reported, and people in the neighbouring city of Pasto, where the annual Festival de Blancos y Negros is currently under way, were reported to be calm. Evacuation orders for 8000 people were in force, and around 900 seem actually to have gone to the shelters, which is a relatively good response for the area around Galeras.

Marta Calvache of INGEOMINAS confirmed in an interview with Caracol Radio that the seismic signal produced by this eruption was the largest recorded at Galeras in recent months.

The Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Pasto reported that an explosive eruption of Galeras began at 19:43 local time on 2 January 2010. The detailed bulletin on the eruption, published by the Pasto observatory at 23:45 that night, reported that the eruption lasted 30 minutes, with the most intense phase lasting 10 minutes. Blocks and ash at high temperatures were erupted, starting fires on the forested flanks of the volcano, and ashfall was reported to the north-west of Galeras in towns up to 37 km distant. The energy level of this eruption, according to INGEOMINAS, was equivalent to that of the 17 January 2008 eruption (described by locals at the time as ‘the strongest in more than twelve years’), and was nine times greater than that estimated for the eruption of 20 November 2009. The alert level for Galeras was raised to Red during the eruption, and lowered again to Orange on the morning of 3 January.

It was a clear night in Pasto on 2/3 January 2010, so the INGEOMINAS Galeras webcam had a good view of the volcano. As a result there is a great video of the eruption as it happened, available here (MPG, 16.4 MB).

* Not sure how to make sense of a volcanic ash advisory? Click here for an explanation.

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

Colombian volcano erupts, evacuation ordered – Reuters, 2 January 2010
Galeras volcano erupts – Colombia Reports, 2 January 2010
Nueva erupción del Galeras es la más grande de los últimos meses: Ingeominas – Caracol Radio, 2 January 2010
Volcán Galeras hizo erupciónEl Espectador, 2 January 2010
Erupción del volcán Galeras no dejó víctimasEl Tiempo, 3 January 2010
De roja a naranja pasa alerta por volcán GalerasEl Tiempo, 3 January 2010

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