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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

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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

Galeras alert level reduced 28 November 2009

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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

Explosive eruption at Galeras 21 November 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, eruptions, Galeras.
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Thermal image of Galeras eruption 20 November 2009 (copyright INGEOMINAS)After some three weeks of simmering at the second-highest alert level of Orange, the Colombian volcano Galeras erupted last night, producing a 10 km eruption column and extensive ashfall.

The INGEOMINAS volcanological observatory at Pasto reported ‘an eruption of Galeras volcano of an explosive character’ yesterday evening at 20:37 local time. The picture to the left is a thermal image of the plume associated with that eruption (copyright INGEOMINAS: original image is here). The alert level was raised to Red, ‘eruption imminent or in progress’. At 22:53 local time INGEOMINAS published a bulletin on the eruption, which reports that ‘five explosions’ were reported from the town of San Cayetano near the volcano, that the sound waves produced by the event were ‘audible in the form of a rumble’ in various nearby areas, and that ‘the incandescence associated with the eruption was visible for some minutes’. The bulletin also notes that Washington VAAC reported that the eruption plume reached an altitude of around 10 km (see the Washington ash advisory here) and that ash was dispersed mainly towards the north, with ‘reports of ashfall in sectors of the municipalities of Nariño and La Florida and in the Bellavista district of Pasto municipality’.

The bulletin reports that the seismic signal of the 20 November eruption ‘had energy levels less than those registered during the eruption of 30 September 2009’, and that since the eruption (and the removal of the solidified material that had blocked the conduit) seismicity has increased in terms both of energy and frequency.

Local evacuation and emergency plans have been put into action, although whether those living around the volcano will pay any attention is another matter: 7000 people are affected by the evacuation orders, but only 800 were in the shelters last night, according to local officials.

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

News
Declaran alerta roja en el volcán GalerasEl Espectador, 20 November 2009
Colombia: Volcán Galeras en alerta roja – ReliefWeb, 21 November 2009
Declararon nuevamente la alerta roja en el volcán Galeras (Nariño)El Tiempo, 21 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

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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

Galeras update, 4 November 2009 4 November 2009

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The alert level for the Colombian volcano Galeras remains at the second-highest level of Orange, ‘eruption likely within the next few days or weeks’. The latest INGEOMINAS bulletin, issued on 3 November at 18:00 local time, reports:

Seismic activity has increased both in number and in energy level; the events associated with the fracturing of crustal material are largely located in the vicinity of the main crater, at depths of less than 2 km and magnitudes of under 2. However in the last fifteen hours the seismicity has markedly declined.

Volcanic gas emissions have been low; particularly, in the last few days, no emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) have been detected.

The process of development at Galeras shows a similar behaviour to that recorded in the days leading up to the eruptive event of 30 September 2009.

The simultaneous threat of activity at Galeras and Nevado del Huila is exercising the minds of governmental and NGO officials in Colombia. Emergency authorities have estimated the number of people at ‘imminent risk’ from the two volcanoes at 9000, reports Caracol Radio, but there is the usual reluctance among those living in at-risk areas to evacuate: ‘The communities in the area of high risk are still unaware [of their danger], they have not evacuated to safe points’, complains Carlos Iván Márquez of the Colombian Red Cross.

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

News
Nueve mil personas en riesgo por amenaza de erupción en volcán Galeras y Huila – Caracol Radio, 3 November 2009
Habitantes no atienden orden de evacuaciónEl Liberal, 4 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