Strong eruption of Mexican Colima volcano, ash up to 8.8 km

Strong eruption of Mexican Colima volcano, ash up to 8.8 km

A brief and strong vulcanian-type explosion occurred at Mexican Colima volcano at 15:15 UTC (09:15 local time) on January 21, 2015. At 17:00 UTC, Washington VAAC said an ash column reached an estimated 8.8 km altitude and was moving NE at 46 km/h.

The eruption generated a pyroclastic flow that descended the steep slope of the volcano.

Ash fall was reported in Tuxpan, Zapotiltic and Ciudad Guzmán in the Jalisco district.

Video credit: webcamsdemexico

Based on information from Colima Tower, the Washington VAAC reported that on January 14 an emission from Colima drifted E. The next day satellite images showed a diffuse ash plume drifting NNE. On January 17 two emissions drifted 20-30 km NNE, and a thermal anomaly was detected in satellite images.

A news article stated that an ash plume rose 600 m, and then later that day an ash plume rose 2.5 km. Ashfall was reported in Tuxpan (25 km ENE).

According to the Washington VAAC, on January 18 the México City MWO noted that an ash plume rose to an altitude of 5.5 km (18 000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted over 10 km NNE; ash was not identified in satellite images, however. On January 19 an ash plume drifted almost 30 km NE.

Geologic summary

The Colima volcanic complex is the most prominent volcanic center of the western Mexican Volcanic Belt. It consists of two southward-younging volcanoes, Nevado de Colima (the 4320 m high point of the complex) on the north and the 3850-m-high historically active Volcán de Colima at the south.

A group of cinder cones of late-Pleistocene age is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the Colima complex. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera, breached to the south, that has been the source of large debris avalanches. Major slope failures have occurred repeatedly from both the Nevado and Colima cones, and have produced a thick apron of debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex.

Frequent historical eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions (most recently in 1913) have destroyed the summit and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.

Featured image credit: webcamsdemexico


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