Galeras Erupts

An undated photo of the crater at Galeras.

I am literally out the door, so I will fill this article a little more after my prior academic obligations, but there are reports of an eruption at Galeras in Colombia overnight. 8,000 people living near the volcano have been evacuated as INGEOMINAS moved the alert status at the volcano to "Red". Not much out there on the details of the eruption beyond this intriguing statement:

Diego Gomez from the Pasto Observatory of Vulcanology and Seismology said that due to the atypical, non-explosive eruption, another eruption is imminent.

Galeras the most active volcano in Colombia (at least in the last 50 years), last erupting in January of this year.

More like this

Today was a doubleheader for volcanic eruptions in the news: Today's explosive eruption from Mt. Etna. Image courtesy of the INGV. As I briefly mentioned earlier, Galeras in Colombia had an "atypical" eruption - apparently meaning it was non-explosive - that has prompted evacuations and a change…
UPDATE 2/15/2009 20:30 PM: Marta Calvache of INGEOMINAS says that seismicity has all but stopped at Galeras after the eruption Saturday night, however the area will be kept on alert for more potential activity. However, even with the eruption, apparently there are very few people in the evacuation…
2009 has been a busy year for Volcan Galeras in Colombia. The volcano has erupted at least twice this year already vigorously enough to prompt evacuations of the area. Galeras does tend to see cycles of eruptive activity, the last one started in 2000 after seven years of quiet. Many times, the…
Undated image of the crater at Galeras in Colombia. UPDATE 1/3/09 Midnight: I'm bumping this up from the comments, but INGEOMINAS posted some stunning webcam video of the eruption as it happened. Wow is all I say. {Hat tip to Doug C. for the video} A quick note tonight: Eruptions reader Chance Metz…

Posted by: Henrik, Swe | August 25, 2010 3:40 AM
After the strong earthquakes in recent days, the Galeras volcano erupted this morning in Columbia.
Posted by: Sherine, France | August 25, 2010 7:13 AM
Thanks, @Sherine:
I got this from El tiempo, Colombia:
"The eruptive event occurred in the early hours of Wednesday, after which the alert level was raised from orange to red indicating that another eruption could be recorded in minutes, therefore she reiterated the call for residents to attend to shelters. According to Dr. Martha Calvache, deputy director of Ingeominas, the incident happened around 4:00 am and the organization and the state is monitoring the volcano.
The signal of the Galeras has lasted for nearly an hour, one of the largest that have occurred in the area, as added Calvache."
Posted by: Renato Rio | August 25, 2010 7:32 AM
They say that although weather conditions at the site are good, yet they don't know the kind of material extruded from the volcano.
Posted by: Renato Rio | August 25, 2010 7:41 AM
#8 Link for the Galeras web cam:
Posted by: Renato Rio | August 25, 2010 7:49 AM

Thanks, @Renato for the link
I found another interesting link
Posted by: Sherine, France | August 25, 2010 8:21 AM
I get the feeling that Galeras could turn nasty since the residents flat out refuse to go to shelters with the words "nothing will ever happen"...
Posted by: Carl | August 25, 2010 8:46 AM

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 25 Aug 2010 #permalink

The info from -- director of Red Cross relief Colombian, Carlos Ivan Marquez, said that a red alert status was ordered. People from villages nearby should evacuate to shelters, but since this kind of eruption is common, few have left their homes. GOES records a single eruption.

By pyromancer76 (not verified) on 25 Aug 2010 #permalink

An "atypical" and "non-explosive" eruption???

Mind you, since the story also claims that the last Galeras eruption sent "streams of lava" down the slopes, I think the reporting leaves something to be desired

Just browsing for the relevant pages on Galeras - if anyone else wants the links:
& if you click the pdf with google translate, you get the description of how they reached the decisions at 4am. Sounds a bit like doing a jigsaw in the dark - making some guesses as everything under cloud cover! They do describe local ash deposits though.

We've had a powerful explosion at Etna's summit early this afternoon, which produced an ash plume about 1 km tall and weaker ash emission for about 20 minutes. The source of the explosion was a vent in the western part of the Bocca Nuova, one of the four summit craters of Etna.

I have posted a preliminary report at the INGV-Catania web site, both in Italian and in English, and you will appreciate the photos ...â©=it

For more competent info on Galeras (in Spanish), try this:

Ha! I just happened to catch the opening salvo of an ash emission at Etna.

Meanwhile, French engineers are preparing to drain a lake that has formed under the Mont Blanc glacier. The last time a subglacial lake flooded the valley below was 1892.

France to drain lake under Mont Blanc glacier,1518,713669,00.html

Reducing the Pressure (excerpt, Der Spiegal)

>Engineers are planning on pumping one-third of the water from a pocket dozens of meters below the glacier's surface. "Pumping off the water will reduce the pressure in the pocket and allow it to drain off in a more controlled fashion," said Jean-Marc Peillex, the mayor of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, in a statement. (with location map)

Oh, finally found the page - on the home page

click on the videos link on the right you can see the thermal cams from last night of the Galeras activity.

Man, Ingeominas nailed the situation perfectly, on August 24th, 6pm (last report before eruption the following morning 4am):

' With fluctuations in the energy levels of the signals, the record remains significant seismicity related to both fluid dynamics as fracturing of crustal material in the area of the volcano. Last night at 11:02 pm highlights another Volcano-Tectonic earthquake located about 800 m south-east of Galeras, about 2 km deep, which had a local magnitude of 3.4 on the scale of Richter and was reported as felt by some residents of the city of San Juan de Pasto.

In aerial reconnaissance of the surface activity, the emission was observed pulsating white gas in small quantities. Measurement of Sulfur Dioxide instrumental in both the permanent stations west of Galeras as mobile equipment on the Beltway, continue to show values of the gas flow at low levels.

In general, seismic activity has occurred since Aug. 20, is the largest energy values compared with either of the processes has been Galeras since 2004, especially the contribution of seismic processes associated with crustal material fracturing in the area of the volcano. We consider that there are characteristics of a partially sealed, facilitating conditions of pressure and instability, which can evolve into states explosive eruptions. '

@ EIRIK, emskib, Boris, Passerby - thanks for the links, bookmark bar loaded and ready....

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 25 Aug 2010 #permalink

Yes Passerby, we could be in a pattern of pressure cooker

By Sherine, France (not verified) on 25 Aug 2010 #permalink

Sherine, merci! Incidentally, you beat both Erik and Sally Kuhn Sennert to it, well done!

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 25 Aug 2010 #permalink

I don't know if you remember it, but I recall that back in late March or early April, Dr Behncke told us about a new cycle beginning at Etna, but also said that an eruption could be several months away and hoped that she would would wait until after the summer holidays.

We now have August 25th, holiday season all but over and Etna rumbling...

By Henrik, Swe (not verified) on 25 Aug 2010 #permalink

@Boris Behncke, Catania, Italy, I don't know how accurate I was this time. But back in April I did comment on this being a chance. But with volcano like Etna, they are always in risk of sudden eruptions so my opinion might not mean a lot, or anything at all.

I don't know if you got any warning or not. But this looks like a good size explosion in Etna.

I do lack a lot of data on Etna at the moment. So that leaves me part on the dark on what is going on inside the mountin.

Older thread from April.


@Erik, yesterday "volcano day"? - I think you missed it for 24 h! :)
@Boris, thanks for the link. After all our Etna talking we were granted an eruption to lurk at.
@Jón FrÃmann: All we needed now to complete this our Volcano Day was Eyjaf's return or some Katla news. Actually, there was a significant steam plume at Eyjaf this morning.
#13 @Sherine: Couldn't paste our earlier talk from this morning. But thanks for your readiness in alerting us on Galeras.

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 25 Aug 2010 #permalink

Err... "wow"

Found the USR quake catalog... did a plot of a little over a years worth of quakes.

You can actually visualize the subducting plate dropping down under Columbia. There are about 3 areas where it is scraping, making the deeper quakes. The large blob is two of them viewed across the plane of the slab in that area. This view angle was selected to emphasize the bend in the slab.

@14thank you, it'sa pleasure to participate in this blog and be with you. I have no merit, I've been watching the area since the earthquake of August 14. Thank Renato I put here the link from this morning
A follow volcano Cerro Machin also
Sherine "Windchill de la Terre du Futur"

@18 What a graphic! Can you spin it so we can look down the length of the zone? I want to see if there is a directional transition at the critical length, delta, at 200 Km depth.

@17 Renato Rio, You had to bring up Volcano Day and Katla, hehe, take at look at this link,

Double click it to enlarge and let me know if you notice a darker cloud underneath the regular ones, there is also a light grey film on the left hand side of the camera, plus I've never seen the camera shake like that before.

@R. Hurst
As you see, I'm still pretty much attached to these Icelandic volcanoes. ;)
As for the clouds and the shaking, I've learned over time that they are quite frequent due to winds and weather features of these glaciers near the ocean.
But some day Katla will erupt, and it could be our next "volcano day".
For now, we will be kept very busy by Etna and Galeras.

By Renato Rio (not verified) on 25 Aug 2010 #permalink


A bit difficult. It's curved.

Here are a few different views so you can tell me where you want the view oriented from.

View East

View North East

View North by North East

View North

Thanks; the view looking eastward answered my questions.

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