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Volcanoes of southern Colombia: overflights, 15 February 2010 22 February 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Azufral, Cerro Negro (Colombia), Colombia, Cumbal, Galeras, volcano monitoring.
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Galeras volcano, 15 February 2010 (INGEOMINAS)
The summit of Galeras (image from 15 February 2010 INGEOMINAS overflight).

The INGEOMINAS volcanological observatory at Pasto has images from overflights carried out on 15 February 2010 over the volcanoes of southern Colombia: Galeras, Cumbal, Azufral and the Chiles-Cerro Negro complex (click on the name to access the images for each volcano).

Of these four, only Galeras is currently showing any signs of restlessness and is on alert level III, yellow (‘changes in the behaviour of the volcanic activity’). Cumbal and Azufral are both at alert level IV, green (‘volcano active and behaviour stable’), while Cerro Negro isn’t considered to need an alert level. Cumbal’s most recent eruptive activity was an explosive eruption in 1926, Azufral’s last known eruption was 1000 years ago, while Cerro Negro may have erupted in 1936, although this is unconfirmed.

Cerro Negro volcano, 15 February 2010 (INGEOMINAS)
Cerro Negro (image from 15 February 2010 INGEOMINAS overflight).

Cumbal volcano, 15 February 2010 (INGEOMINAS)
Summit of Cumbal volcano (image from 15 February 2010 INGEOMINAS overflight).

Azufral volcano, 15 February 2010 (INGEOMINAS)
Azufral volcano, showing Laguna Verde crater lake (image from 15 February 2010 INGEOMINAS overflight).

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Azufral – information for Azufral (1501-09=)
Global Volcanism Program: Cerro Negro de Mayasquer – information for Cerro Negro de Mayasquer (1501-11=)
Global Volcanism Program: Cumbal – information for Cumbal (1501-10=)
Global Volcanism Program: Galeras – information for Galeras (1501-08=)

The Volcanism Blog

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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.

News
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

Information
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

Alert level raised to ‘orange’ at Galeras 10 December 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, Galeras.
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INGEOMINAS has raised the alert level at Galeras to the second-highest level of Orange, ‘eruption probable within days or weeks’, following changes in the volcano’s seismic behaviour over the past 24 hours or so. ‘Tornillo’ type earthquakes have been particularly evident, a type of seismicity that has been characteristic of the lead-up to previous eruptions. As per standard procedure, an evacuation of nearby areas has been ordered.

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

News
Ordenan evacuar las faldas del volcán GalerasEl Pais, 10 December 2009
Authorities raise Galeras alert level to ‘orange’Colombia Reports, 10 December 2009

Information
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

Alert level raised at Cerro Machín 7 December 2009

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Machin volcano, Colombia, 10 November 2008 (copyright INGEOMINAS)
Machín volcano, Colombia, 10 November 2008 (image copyright INGEOMINAS).

A seismic swarm on Saturday has provoked the Colombian state geological service INGEOMINAS to raise the alert level for Machín volcano in western central Colombia to Yellow (III), ‘ changes in the behaviour of the volcanic activity’.

According to a report in El Espectador, ’54 minor [earth] movements took place over the weekend at El Machín volcano. The largest of these was at 1.3 on the Richter scale. The seismic swarm took place from 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, and although small, is the largest to have occurred in 2009, after strong activity in 2008′. No bulletin on developments at Machín has yet been published on the Manizales Volcanological Observatory web site.

Any reactivation of Machín would pose a substantial threat to a populous area of Colombia, including the large city of Ibagué (approximate population 500,000).

UPDATE, 9 December 2009. A commenter at Erik Klemetti’s Eruptions blog observes that INGEOMINAS has had Machín at Yellow Alert for ages, and thinking back over my visits to the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales site (where Machín bulletins are rather thin on the ground) it does seem that the yellow square has been a permanent fixture. I suspect the local press picked up on this activity because it’s the first for a while, and because the national government has prioritized a potential eruption of Machín as one of the principal natural disasters Colombia may have to deal with. In any case, the latest earthquake swarm is significant, and emphasizes the point that Machín needs careful monitoring.

News
54 sismos en volcán El Machín llevan a declarar alerta amarillaEl Espectador, 7 December 2009
En alerta Amarilla el volcán MachínSemana, 7 December 2009
Authorities declare yellow alert for Machin volcanoColombia Reports, 7 December 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Machín – information about Machín volcano (1501-04=)
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales – INGEOMINAS observatory responsible for monitoring Machín
Volcán Machín – information, maps and pictures

The Volcanism Blog

Galeras alert level reduced 28 November 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, Galeras.
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The alert level for Galeras volcano in southern Colombia, which erupted on 20th November, has been reduced from level II Orange to level III Yellow, on a scale of I-IV, where I is the highest. The latest INGEOMINAS bulletin reports ‘continuing low levels of seismicity’ with an absence of the seismic signals which in the past have signalled the run-up to an eruption.

During the overflight of Galeras carried out on 26 November (which ended so tragically) gas emissions were observed from the edges, internal walls and areas of the floor of the principal crater, and thermal anomalies were detected with temperatures reaching 200° C.

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

Information
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

Helicopter crashes after Galeras overflight: one dead 27 November 2009

Posted by admin in Colombia, Galeras, volcano monitoring.
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A helicopter of the Colombian Air Force crashed yesterday on its return to a military airfield in Pasto after completing an overflight of Galeras volcano for the Colombian geological service INGEOMINAS. The helicopter was carrying two Air Force crew and two INGEOMINAS personnel. The co-pilot, an Air Force lieutenant, died in the accident.

In co-operation with the Colombian Air Force, INGEOMINAS operates a programme of frequent overflights as part of its work of monitoring Colombia’s active volcanoes. Such overflights are a vital element in the monitoring and research work carried out by volcanological and geological authorities across the world. This accident is a sad reminder that this essential work is not without risk.

INGEOMINAS statement, 26 November 2009 (PDF)

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

News
Muere copiloto de aeronave que se accidentó en Pasto – Caracol Radio, 26 November 2009
Muere teniente de la FAC al caer helicóptero cerca del GalerasLa Vanguardia Liberal, 26 October 2009
Accidentado helicóptero que sobrevoló el GalerasEl Tiempo, 26 November 2009
Accidente de helicóptero de la Fuerza Aérea deja un muerto – W Radio, 27 November 2009

Information
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

Galeras update, 22 November 2009 22 November 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, eruptions, Galeras.
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Following yesterday’s eruption, the INGEOMINAS observatory at Pasto has lowered the alert level to the second-highest level of Orange, ‘eruption probable within days or weeks’. A bulletin released at 19:40 local time yesterday evening reporting the following:

Since the eruptive event of last night and following the notable increase in seismicity, the seismic activity has shown a gradual decline both in frequency and energy released. The earthquakes registered are associated principally with processes of [gas] escape although events related to the fracturing of crustal material have also been recorded. The seismicity occurs in the upper levels.

The measurements of sulphur dioxide (SO2) today show levels between low and moderate (with a maximum value of 700 tonnes/day), explicable in part to an opening of the system as a consequence of the eruption.

The eruptive event recorded yesterday reflects partial easing of forces and reduction of overpressures.

The bulletin concludes that ‘the volcanic process at Galeras remains unstable, with the presence of magmatic material in upper levels’, and warns that the volcano’s behaviour has shown that ‘in relatively short periods of time consecutive explosive events can be generated’.

Evacuation orders affecting around 7000-8000 local inhabitants were issued following the eruption yesterday. Local news sources reported that between 900 and 1000 people actually responded to the evacuation and went to the shelters.

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

News
Mil personas se encuentran en albergues por erupción del GalerasEl País, 21 November 2009
Volcán Galeras amanece en alerta Naranja ante eventual erupción – Caracol Radio, 22 November 2009
Sigue alerta roja por erupción del GalerasEl Tiempo, 22 November 2009

Information
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

Galeras update, 18 November 2009 18 November 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, Galeras.
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The latest bulletin for Galeras volcano, covering the week leading up to 17 November, was published by the Colombian state geological service INGEOMINAS yesterday at 18:00 local time.

The bulletin reports fluctuations in both the frequency and the energy of the volcano’s seismic activity, with the majority of the seismicity consisting of a combination of rock fracturing and fluid movement quakes. The rock fracturing events are concentrated around the principal crater and follow a north-west to south-east alignment, and are at depths of less than 2 km and show magnitudes of less than 1.8. A number of tornillo type earthquakes were registered at the end of last week: this is significant because events of this kind have occurred during the periods preceding earlier eruptions of Galeras.

During the 14 November overflight very low levels of gas emission were recorded, along with thermal anomalies in the interior of the principal crater showing temperatures of up to 110 degrees centigrade. No sulphur dioxide emissions have been detected, indicating that the volcanic system is sealed, ‘preventing the escape of this type of gas to the atmosphere’.

The volcano’s behaviour, notes the bulletin, ‘‘is similar to that recorded in the stages preceding some of the eruptive events which have taken place during the last twenty years’.

Galeras remains at the second-highest level of Orange, ‘eruption likely within the next few days or weeks’.

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

Information
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

Galeras update, 17 November 2009 17 November 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, Galeras.
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Galeras - image from INGEOMINAS/FAC overflight, 14 November 2009 (copyright INGEOMINAS)
The summit crater at Galeras: image from INGEOMINAS overflight, 14 November 2009 (copyright INGEOMINAS).

Colombia’s Galeras volcano remains at the second-highest level of Orange, ‘eruption likely within the next few days or weeks’. The most recent bulletin, issued on 10 November 2009, reports ‘a notable decline in the number and energy of recorded earthquakes’, with most seismic activity being associated with a combination of rock fracturing and fluid movement quakes.

The majority of the earthquakes recorded have been located in the environs of the summit crater, at depths of less than 2 km and with magnitudes of less than 2. The bulletin highlights the occurrence of ‘some’ tornillo earthquakes (long- period seismic events typically associated with pressurized fluid movements at shallow depth), noting that such events were detected during the run-up to earlier eruptions of Galeras during the period 1993-9.

No sulphur dioxide emissions have been recorded during the week 4-10 November, ‘which reflects a sealed system preventing the release of this type of gas to the atmosphere’.

The bulletin concludes by underlining that the present behaviour of Galeras ‘is similar to that recorded in the stages preceding some of the eruptive events which have taken place during the last twenty years’.

A new Galeras bulletin is due to be released by INGEOMINAS today (17 November). An overflight took place on 14 November, and the new bulletin should contain observations from that flight. In the meantime a number of photographs taken during that overflight of the summit area of the volcano (including that reproduced above) are available on the Pasto observatory website.

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

Information
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

Nevado del Huila update, 11 November 2009 11 November 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, Nevado del Huila.
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Nevado del Huila volcano is still at the second-highest level of Orange, ‘eruption likely within the next few days or weeks’. The Colombian state geological service SERNAGEOMIN issued its latest bulletin at 17:00 local time on 10 November which reports that:

  • Between 4 and 10 November 1195 seismic events were recorded, ’46 related to the fracturing of rocks, 1078 to fluid dynamics within the volcanic conduits, 3 hybrid events and 68 pulses of tremor associated with the escape of gas to the surface’.
  • Three overflights have taken place, on 4, 6 and 10 November. During these flights it has been observed that the new dome ‘shows a high rate of growth and an approximate volume of extruded material of around 25 million cubic metres’. Small collapses were observed on the western part of the dome, with effects limited to the upper part of the volcanic edifice, and constant degassing was taking place around the dome.
  • The strong degassing produced columns that did not exceed 2500 metres in altitude.
  • Sulphur dioxide measurements on 10 November indicated an SO2 flow of 7943 tonnes/day, forming a column that was dispersed to the north-west of the volcano.

INGEOMINAS concludes that Nevado del Huila continues to display unstable behaviour, and that the volcano’s level of activity may increase. Continuing vigilance is the order of the day.

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

Information
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