Nevado del Ruiz, May 18 (1606 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 18, 9:06 a.m., Pacific: The day dawned clear, as you can see on Jhon/VIDJCB’s video this morning:

That steam plume is it in terms of visible activity. There were no ash advisories put up yesterday (though Ruiz doesn’t look very nevado in those images), and in today’s SGC advisory, they report identifying no ash emissions (emphasis added by SGC or me):

From 9:00 a.m. From yesterday (May 17) until the time of publication of this bulletin, the seismic activity associated with rock fracturing inside the volcanic edifice presented a decrease in the number of earthquakes and in the seismic energy released compared to the previous day (16 of May). This seismicity was located in the Arenas crater and in the northwestern and southwestern sectors of the volcanic edifice, with depths ranging between 1 and 5 km. The maximum magnitude recorded was 0.4 corresponding to the earthquake registered on May 17 at 06:00 p.m., located 3 km northwest of the Arenas crater and at a depth of approximately 5 km.

Regarding the seismicity related to the movement of fluids inside the volcanic conduits, this seismic activity decreased both in the number of registered events and in the seismic energy released compared to the previous day (May 16). Yesterday and so far today, there has been no confirmation of ash emissions.

With respect to surface activity, the maximum height of the gas column was 1100 m, measured from the top of the volcano and it has presented a predominant dispersion towards the northwest of it. At dawn today, the thermal anomaly was observed at the bottom of the Arenas crater from the satellite monitoring platforms. Variations in the degassing of sulfur dioxide and the release of water vapor from the crater into the atmosphere continue.

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:

Featured image: Ric Photography/Shutterstock

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