May 16 (1523 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 16, 8:23 a.m., Pacific: A much quieter morning! The weather clouds have persisted, and that might be why Jhon/VIDJCB’s video isn’t up yet — even SGC has had difficulty viewing the summit, as they mention in today’s report (graphic added; emphasis added by them or me):

From 09:00 a.m. yesterday (May 15) until the time of publication of this bulletin, the seismic activity associated with rock fracturing inside the volcanic edifice showed a decrease in the number of earthquakes and seismic energy released compared to the previous day (May 14). This type of seismicity remained located mainly to the southwest of the volcanic edifice, at a distance between 3 and 5 km from the Arenas crater, with depths ranging between 3 and 4 km. The maximum magnitude recorded was 1.2, corresponding to the earthquake registered on May 15 at 10:54 p.m., located 4 km southwest of the Arenas crater and at a depth of approximately 4 km.

Why is the magma coming from the southwest? If this model is correct, because that’s where the chamber is. Why it’s bypassing nearby Isabel and heading for Ruiz, I don’t know. (Image: Lundgren et al., Figure 5 (top), Figure 6, partial (bottom), CC BY 4.0)

Regarding the seismicity related to the movement of fluids inside the volcanic conduits, this increased in the number of registered events and decreased in the seismic energy released compared to the previous day (May 14). Some of the seismic signals were associated with pulsatile ash emissions confirmed through the web cameras used for volcanic monitoring.

Regarding surface activity, yesterday, the volcanic area remained cloudy for most of the day, which did not allow us to observe the column of gases and/or ash for long periods of time. However, in the few minutes that it could be observed, the column reached heights of less than 500 m measured from the top of the volcano, although it is possible that it may have been higher. According to the forecasts, the preferential dispersion direction of the column was towards the northern and northwestern sectors of the volcano. Additionally, variations continue in the degassing of sulfur dioxide and the release of water vapor from the crater into the atmosphere.

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 be attentive to the evolution of the volcanic phenomenon and will inform opportunely about the changes that may occur.

For more information visit the following link:

Of note, this appeared yesterday, along with reports of ashfall and sulfur odors in Manizales. It reportedly is on the national highway between Fresno, Colombia, and Manizales:

Although it appeared credible, I waited until it was acknowledged by scientists last night, when SGC tweeted that they will do some field work on the phenomenon and report the results.

A reply in the thread mentions Cerro Bravo in connection with it, so I’ll do follow-up, if any, in that post.

Update, May 17, 9:17 a.m., Pacific: SGC did a Twitter thread on their investigation thus far. Briefly, it is near Cerro Bravo, which still appears to be sound asleep; the main component is CO2; there is a gas pipeline in the area with no identified leaks thus far. SGC is still working on it with others, including gas/oil industry groups.

Featured image: Ric Photography/Shutterstock

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