Nevado del Ruiz: May 23 (1710 UTC)

  • Status: Orange, but —

    The take-away here: Ruiz might wind up steadily, if that’s on its agenda, or it might just give them a few minutes’ notice before the “big one.”

  • Interactive official hazard map (autotranslated), via Relief Web; En español
  • USAID April 4th map (autotranslated) posted on May 18 at Relief Web.
  • Links to webcams, public data, and other information.
  • Update archive.

Update, May 23, 10:10 a.m., Pacific: I think Ruiz has heard of the old Abbott and Costello “Niagara Falls” sketch: “Slowly, inch by inch…”

Anyway, that’s a good description of the volcano’s activity — slowly winding up after its extended ash emission earlier this month.

And as Dr. Makario Londoño discussed in an El Tiempo interview (autotranslated), this is not what volcanoes typically do; such oscillations are signs that Nevado del Ruiz is very unstable.

Here is Jhon/VIDJCB’s video this morning —

— and this is from the Colombian Geological Service (SGC) bulletin he reads, with emphasis added by either the SGC or me (no VAAC advisory is up at present):

From 09:00 a.m. From yesterday (May 22) until the time of publication of this bulletin, the seismic activity related to the movement of fluids inside the volcanic conduits presented an increase in the number of earthquakes and continued showing levels of seismic energy released similar to those of the previous day (May 21). Some of the seismic signals were associated with pulsatile ash emissions confirmed through the web cameras used for volcanic monitoring.

On the other hand, the seismicity associated with rock fracturing inside the volcanic edifice increased in the number of earthquakes and showed levels of seismic energy released similar to those of the previous day (May 21). This seismicity was located in the northeast, north and south sectors of the volcano and in the Arenas crater, at a maximum distance of 6 km from it and at depths ranging between 1 and 7 km.

Regarding surface activity, the maximum height of the gas and/or ash column was 1300 m measured from the top of the volcano and it has presented a preferential direction of dispersion towards the northeast. 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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