May 13 (1542 UTC)

  • Status: Orange, but —

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

  • Interactive official hazard map (autotranslated), via Relief Web; En español
  • Links to webcams, public data, and other information.
  • Update archive.

Update, May 13, 08:42 a.m., Pacific: The biggest news — to this layperson, anyway — continues to be the reduction of exclusion zone to 10 km, noted in online news sources Friday after the close of workday.

If anyone wants to complain about it, they will either have to call their contacts/representatives at home, if available, over the weekend or wait until offices open on Monday.

Knowing how the thing is done here in many parts of the US, I would expect that supporters of the mayor of Amity Island the governor of Caldas (per this story (autotranslated), will do everything that’s physically possible over the weekend to turn this into a fait accompli that cannot be reversed by officials next week.

I’m not condemning the reduction; people’s livelihood is at stake, and the volcano is slow in winding up.

It’s a tough decision in every way. And as I mentioned in an earlier note, the human mind is not built to handle sitting next to a ticking bomb for months at a time.

This ongoing story in Colombia is a classic example of what I understand from reading to be one of the biggest challenges in volcanology.

There is no right answer except in retrospect, after the crisis is over. Right now, as always, it’s just human beings doing the best they can to handle a tough problem Nature has thrown at them.

No one can criticize that: we outsiders can only watch, learn, and apply the lessons to our own situation.

The supporters of this change have reduced the pressure on many minds; they haven’t disarmed — and cannot disarm — the volcano.

That said, there doesn’t appear to be much change in Ruiz at present.

There was another ash advisory put up overnight, but the current one notes no emissions.

The volcano’s plume isn’t intense now, when it can be seen on the morning time-lapse videos from Jhon/VIDJCB:

As always, he is reading the SGC update as part of that narration.

Here it is via Google Translate, with emphasis added by either the SGC or me:

From 9:00 a.m. yesterday (May 12) until the time of publication of this bulletin, the seismic activity related to the movement of fluids inside the volcanic conduits continued to predominate. This seismicity presented similar levels in the number of earthquakes and in the seismic energy released with respect to the previous day. Some of these signals have been related to pulsatile and continuous ash emissions, confirmed through the web cameras used for volcanic monitoring.

Also, the seismicity record associated with rock fracturing inside the volcanic edifice is maintained, which showed similar levels in the number of earthquakes and in seismic energy compared to the previous day (May 12). The earthquakes were located to the northeast and southeast of the Arenas crater, at an approximate distance of up to 4 km from it, and at depths between 1 and 4 km.

Regarding surface activity, the maximum height of the column of gases and/or ash observed was 1900 m measured from the top of the volcano, and the direction of dispersion of the column of gases has been to the east – southeast, with variation to the northwest and northeast of the volcano. For today, the forecasts indicate that the wind will be in the direction (northeast – east), so that, if continuous ash emission continues to be recorded, it is possible that ash fall will occur in the sectors of the Tolima municipalities that are in that direction of the volcano: Villahermosa, Murillo and LĂ­bano. On the other hand, the variations in the degassing of sulfur dioxide and the release of water vapor from the crater into the atmosphere continue, as well as the thermal anomalies at the bottom of the crater observed through satellite monitoring platforms.

All these indicators ratify what the SGC has reiterated: the activity of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano continues to be highly unstable. It is possible that the levels of seismic activity, as well as the levels of degassing or ash output, decrease or be oscillating, in the sense of increasing on some days and decreasing on others. However, this does not imply that the volcano has returned to its normal levels of activity, so it is recommended not to get used to these oscillating changes in activity and think that it is a normal activity of the volcano.

Therefore, we reiterate that the activity of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano continues at ORANGE LEVEL, which indicates that there is a probability that in days or weeks it will erupt more than it has in the last 10 years. To change the level and return to the Yellow level, a prudential time is required where trends and patterns can be observed that allow us to infer the possible decrease in activity, aspects that the current activity of the volcano still does not show. For this reason, we warn that the level of activity of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano will remain at ORANGE LEVEL for several weeks. During this time, in the event of an acceleration of processes suggesting an imminent eruption or the eruption itself occurring, the activity level will be changed to Red.

We recommend that the community remain calm, follow all the instructions of the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (UNGRD) and local authorities, and be attentive to the information provided by the Colombian Geological Service on the evolution of the state of the volcano.

The level of activity of the volcano remains at ORANGE LEVEL of activity or (II): PROBABLE ERUPTION IN TERMS OF DAYS OR WEEKS.

The COLOMBIAN GEOLOGICAL SERVICE will continue to monitor the evolution of the volcanic phenomenon and will inform opportunely about the changes that may occur.

For more information visit the following link:

Featured image: Ric Photography/Shutterstock

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