Nevado del Ruiz, 2023: May 3, 1606 UTC

  • Status: Orange, but —

    They don’t usually make such tweets daily. See May 1st 5:04 p.m. update below.

  • Links to data and other information.
  • Update archive.

9:06 a.m., Pacific: Not much change is reported in SGC’s bulletin today.

As explained in earlier updates, this isn’t an official account but he does read the official report and also shows morning webcam views of Ruiz as time-lapse video.

SGC notes the seismic energy from fluid movements in the conduit is slightly increased over the previous day, and seismic energy in rock-breaking quakes is slightly diminished.

[Layperson alert]As this layperson understands her readings about volcanoes, that’s typical of a volcano getting ready to erupt: the magma’s initial movement towards the surface has a lot of rock to break through; once it’s near the surface, in the conduit, and bubbly, it’s energy is directed towards breaking out.

It can fail and instead harden in place, or it can break through. The longer it’s in there, the more pressure it builds up, unless the gases in those bubbles can get out, which is happening with those Ruiz plumes.

Extrapolating from what I’ve read about Mount Merapi’s 2010 eruption, even though Merapi, unlike Ruiz, is considered an open-conduit volcano, a large volume of gassy magma can rise very quickly. This is too much for the volcano’s degassing system to handle and the results can be as though the vents were sealed: pressures build up and eventually, BOOM![/layperson]

I’m not saying that’s what actually is happening at Ruiz. I’m just somebody who has read a few technical papers.

But I suspect that or similar concerns might be behind Dr. Makario Londoño’s saying that there might be only 10-15 minutes before they go to RED.

The human mind isn’t built to handle living beside a ticking bomb for months, though the ability can be learned by some (volcanologists, for example).

El Tiempo has moved its Ruiz coverage out of the “top news” level — no more minute-by-minute stuff for now.

Life goes on under the volcano, but tensely, I imagine. And help, including but probably not limited to this, is already on the way.

Dr. Makario Londoño’s name spelling corrected, May 6, 2023.

Featured image: Ric Photography/Shutterstock

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