Nevado del Ruiz, May 1, 2023

This includes the cam watching that extended a little into May 2nd.

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Update, May 1, 8:07 p.m., Pacific, to around 1 a.m., Pacific, May 2: Incandescense glow. Haven’t checked the cam in about an hour, but it wasn’t there before — at least, while I’ve been looking. As noted earlier, incandescence glow does appear at times.

Update, May 1, 2024 2023, 7 p.m., Pacific: Checked cam at 1:43 UTC, took about a 15-minute break, checked again, and saw this:

Will see if and how it develops. Quick update: At 0203 check it’s gone: human source, most likely; in daylight you can see lots of trails up there. If it’s late evacuees, bet they’re wishing it was daylight.

Quick update: Meanwhile, the latest helicorder image:

Now that I can see (sort of) the summit, I recognize what the SGC has described in their updates; that is, the more intense squiggles correspond to the more voluminous plume, and the quieter last line corresponds to the much smaller plume now.

Edit: They would, if the helicorder were live. I forgot that there is a delay. The correspondence was just a coincidence, but I think the general idea is sound, since SGC mentioned it.

[Layperson speculation]Those squiggles may represent outgassing, so while their presence looks scary, it’s actually a sign of Ruiz literally letting off steam. The quiet lines on the helicorder might signify blockage of outgassing. Why are squiggles more intense? Not pressurization, perhaps, so much as vastly increased outgassing as that large volume of magma nears the surface.[/layperson speculation]

Will look for SO2 measuring sites and see if it has increased today.

Of course, I could wait for tomorrow’s update, but this is more fun.

And with SGC tweeting that they might have only 10 or 15 minutes to call a RED, why wait?

Quick update: Found the Manizales Observatory page. So. Much. Data. 🎁

Have only a mobile connection but will see if I can find the sulfur links.

Last quick update for now: According to this, Sangay is the only current major stinker.

[Layperson speculation]That may be good news, or it might mean Ruiz’s sulfur dioxide emission is blocked.[/layperson speculation] Will see how it goes.

Update, May 1, 6:17 p.m., Pacific: The Cerro Gualí webcam is clear at the moment, and the summit is just visible in the darkness, at least on the cam.

Here’s an image from about six minutes ago (UTC on this cam timestamp); don’t know how good it is:

There appears to be the usual white plume, perhaps with more volume.

I wish some incandescence showed. Reportedly, the dome up there isn’t blocking the entire vent — hence the outgassing.

This is good, since gas powers explosive eruptions. Note on the webicorder that the big shock came after a quiet period, presumably when gas could not escape.

It would be bad if the vent got completely closed off right now.

That crater is very deep and the plume is thick; there often isn’t incandescence glow up there, I guess, but I have seen an image of it on Twitter, a week or so ago. Someone was asking SGC what it meant.

Well, let’s just keep watching and waiting.

Update, May 1, 5:04 p.m., Pacific: The helicorder mentioned earlier today had been showing what looked to this layperson like periods of increased seismicity winding down into fairly quiet spells, and then repeating, until yesterday at some point, when the signals had more intensity and were more frequent or perhaps even constant.

So I kept my eye on it while working today and noted a strong shock and sudden drop in activity:

I haven’t checked them since, because of work, but got online and saw that SGC tweet:

“The orange … activity level of the VNR indicates that we must be prepared for a possible eruption of considerable magnitude. As there is a probability that the volcano will reach the red activity level, now is the time to take preventive measures…”

I’m no expert, but IMO that’s as strong as they get before going to RED.

Gonna keep eyes on the news tonight.

The helicorder displays are not live, but here is the full page of that period to date:

Meanwhile, El Pais English recently published interviews with people under the volcano.

May 1, 2023, 8:29 a.m., Pacific: Still ORANGE, still in the awful holding pattern of “will it or won’t it?”.

To watch Ruiz labor, I’ve been following the filtered (filtrada) AZUM HHE CM90 record here. (The Alaska Volcano Observatory has some advice on reading seismic helicorders, which are also called helicorders.)

From today’s SGC’s update (video added; bold emphasis by SGC):

Yesterday April 30 and so far today, the seismic activity related to the movement of fluids inside the volcanic conduits continues to predominate, which maintains, in general, a similar behavior in terms of number of earthquakes and energy seismic compared to the previous day (April 29). Some seismic signals of this type, this morning, have been associated with pulsatile ash emissions, confirmed through the web cameras used for volcanic monitoring, highlighting the one registered at 07:38 a.m., which reached a height of 600 m measured from the top of the volcano and presented a direction of dispersion towards the west-northwest.

The seismic activity associated with rock fracturing within the volcanic edifice presented, on April 30, a similar behavior in the number of registered earthquakes and a slight increase in the seismic energy released, compared to the previous day. The seismicity was located around the Arenas crater, within a radius of less than 4.0 km, measured from there. The maximum magnitude registered yesterday was 2.0 corresponding to the earthquake at 03:06 a.m. located 0.7 km north-northeast of the Arenas crater, 3.0 km deep, which was opportunely reported in yesterday’s extraordinary bulletin.

In relation to the maximum height of the column of gases and/or ash observed, yesterday it reached 1600 m measured from the top of the volcano and presented a dispersion direction mainly to the northwest and southwest of it. Thermal anomalies continue at the bottom of the crater, which could be observed from satellite monitoring platforms, as well as the degassing of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere and the release of water vapor from the volcano.

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, which is why it is warned that the activity level 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:

Images of Ruiz, May 1st:

  • El Tiempo’s minute-by-minute coverage (April 30th — yes, even though at time of writing it says the 29th), autotranslated.

Info links

Updates page