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Nevado del Huila’s restlessness continues 7 October 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, Nevado del Huila.
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‘Nevado continues to awaken’ says the headline in Colombia’s El País newspaper today. Nevado del Huila volcano is certainly showing signs of continuing restlesness, with swarms of seismic events reported last week and over the weekend. Increased seismicity at Nevado is currently causing concern for the volcanological authorities at INGEOMINAS and for the volcano’s neighbours. The most recent INGEOMINAS bulletin, released on 3 October 2008, reported as follows:

During the past two days there has been an increase in seismic activity related to the movement of fluids to superficial levels [i.e. upper levels, near the surface] in Nevado del Huila volcano. In the last 48 hours a total of 550 events has been recorded, occurring in the form of swarms of an average four hours’ duration. From the above we have concluded that a magmatic body is being intruded into the superficial levels, causing continuous degassing with high discharges of sulphur dioxide. The foregoing is consistent with the mobile measurement carried out on 2 October, in which the flow was calculated at 10590 tonnes per day, the highest reading taken during the present year.

Today El País reports that the ‘protracted seismicity’ over the weekend caused alarm among local inhabitants. Senior INGEOMINAS officials were due to meet with local representatives at Popayán observatory today to analyse the situation at the volcano.

The alert level for Nevado del Huila remains at III (where level I is the highest) which equates to a yellow alert.

News
Nevado sigue despertandoEl País, 7 October 2008 (Spanish)
Volcano activity and fears of eruption rise – Colombia Reports, 7 October 2008

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Nevado del Huila – summary information for Nevado del Huila (1501-05=)
Portal Corporativo de INGEOMINAS – main page for the Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería
INGEOMINAS Popayán – main page for the Observatorio Popoyán, which monitors Nevado del Huila
Sistema Nacional para la Prevención y Atención de Desastres – main page for the Colombian national emergencies office

The Volcanism Blog

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Alert at Nevado del Huila, Colombia 12 September 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, Nevado del Huila.
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The Colombian volcano Nevado del Huila has been restless for several years, erupting destructively in spring 2007 (its first eruption since the mid-sixteenth century). Since then it has been seismically active and has released occasional gas and ash plumes. In April this year elevated seismicity provoked an evacuation of surrounding districts, but no eruption took place.

Now comes the news that another evacuation has been ordered on the basis of increased seismic activity, and that the Colombian volcanological authorities are concerned that an eruption may take place soon (see coverage at the Eruptions blog). Having said that, the alert level remains at yellow, which is level III (where level I is the highest), and has not been raised. The INGEOMINAS bulletin of 9 September 2008 reports the following seismicity at Nevado del Huila:

In the present week a total of 761 seismic events have been recorded. Of these, 505 were related fracturing of rock, 197 with fluid dynamics within the volcanic conduits, 44 hybrids and 15 pulses of low magnitude tremor.

Of the seismicity associated with rock fracturing processes, highlights were the recording of six (6) events of magnitude greater than 2.8, four (4) of these reported as being felt by the inhabitants of the area affected by the volcano, including the event recorded on 5 September 2008 at 10:30am local time, which had a magnitude of 4.0 on the Richter scale and was located 1.0km to the north of Pico Central, at a depth of 3.47km.

‘Pico Central’ is the highest point (5634m) of the Nevado del Huila volcanic complex.

INGEOMINAS concludes that, given the present levels and trends of activity at Nevado del Huila, ‘the volcanic system continues to demonstrate an increase in activity, from which it cannot be excluded that this process may evolve into a phase of major excitation’; that is, volcanic excitation, which one takes to mean eruptive activity.

Evacuation looms again for locals: a report in the Colombian newspaper El País (also in El Colombiano) states that INGEOMINAS officials are calling on ‘residents around the volcanic structure to be ready to leave the area’.

News
Alerta amarilla por sismos en el volcán del HuilaEl País, 11 September 2008 (Spanish)
Alerta amarilla por sismos en el volcán del HuilaEl Colombiano, 11 September 2008 (Spanish)

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Nevado del Huila – summary information for Nevado del Huila (1501-05=)
Portal Corporativo de INGEOMINAS – main page for the Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería
INGEOMINAS Popayán – main page for the Observatorio Popoyán, which monitors Nevado del Huila
Sistema Nacional para la Prevención y Atención de Desastres – main page for the Colombian national emergencies office

The Volcanism Blog