Nevado del Ruiz: Signs of increasing activity?
I write the Eruptions blog on Big Think. I've been mesmerized with volcanoes (and geology) all my life. It helps that part of my family comes from the shadow of Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia, where I could see first hand the deadly effects of volcanic eruptions. Since then, I've taken a bit of a winding path to become a volcanologist. I started as a history major at Williams College, almost went into radio, but ended up migrating to geology, including an undergraduate thesis on Vinalhaven Island, Maine. I followed this up by changing coast to get my Ph.D. from Oregon State University. Then I ran a MC-ICP-MS lab at University of Washington for a spell (and wrote for an indie rock website). I spent three years as a postdoctoral scholar at University of California - Davis studying the inner workings of magmatic systems. I am now an assistant professor at Denison University and have projects in New Zealand, Chile and Oregon.
I am fascinated by volcanoes, their eruptions and how those eruptions interact with the people who live around the volcanoes. I started this blog after getting frustrated with the news reports of volcanic eruptions. Most of them get the information wrong and/or are just sensationalistic. I will try to summarize eruptions as they occur, translate some of the volcanic processes that are happening and comment on the reports themselves.
And no matter what people tell you, I definitely do not have a cat named Tephra. (OK, I do).
You can find out more about my research by visiting my website. If you have any comments, questions or information, feel free to contact me at eruptionsblog at gmail dot com.
I just wanted to pass a quick new news from Colombia: Nevado del Ruiz has been placed on yellow alert status (spanish) by the Colombian survey, INGEOMINAS. The reports (spanish) describe increased sulfur odor and sulfur dioxide emissions, increased seismicity in the edifice (tens of earthquakes) over the weekend and a plume (unclear if the plume is only steam or more). You can read the full INGEOMINAS statement here (spanish). No evacuations have been called by the government, but towns around the volcano are being placed on heightened alert. Ruiz has not had any confirmed eruptive activity since 1991, the last of the eruptive period that included the 1985 lahars that killed over 25,000 in Armero. The volcano is monitored by the observatory in Manizales (spanish), where you can see the a "capture" of the seismic trace at Ruiz but I have yet to find any webcam for Ruiz.
More details as I find them.
UPDATE 10/5/2010 (note: all the links are in spanish) - Not a lot of news on Ruiz so far today, but I did find two articles. The first is actually about Cerro Machin, a volcano near Ruiz in the Central Cordillera of Colombia. Macario Londoño Jhon Bonilla from INGEOMINAS told reports that the current elevated seismicity at Machin is "normal" and that an eruption is not expected - rather the seismicity is related to hydrothermal flow or strain. However, the Regional Emergency Committee will be holding a meeting in Cajamarca with INGEOMINAS and the Volcano Observatory of Manizales to discuss the seismicity at Machin and Ruiz - and people in the Risaralda province are already wondering what to expect if Ruiz or Machin do erupt.
Top left: Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia in an undated image.
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