Very strong explosion at Colima, ash up to 7 km (23 000 feet) a.s.l.

strong-explosion-colima-mexico-january-25-2017

A very strong explosion occurred at Mexican Colima volcano at 13:45 UTC on January 25, 2017. This is yet another strong explosion at the volcano, currently one of the most active in the world.

The eruption was accompanied with pyroclastic flows on the NE flank.

The Washington VAAC reported volcanic ash drifted NE and reached 7 km (23 000 feet) above sea level at 14:15 UTC.

Mexican National Civil Protection System has warned the population that persistent and strong ashfall is expected and urged them to take necessary precautions and stay alert to official information. Even light ash fall can contaminate drinking water and food containers, they warned.

Nearby residents are warned to limit their outdoor activity, keep the windows and doors closed, and protect their eyes, nose, and mouth. If possible, use a damp cloth, wash it regularly and wear protective glasses. If you have to go out, try wearing long-sleeved clothing and a hat. Do not drive if possible, but if you have to, do so at a low speed and with the lights on. Remember that ash damages the engines and the performance of vehicles. People with asthma and respiratory problems should not be exposed to ash.

Cover your water and food containers, both human and animal, and do not allow ash to accumulate on ceilings, roofs, patios, and streets. Store your important documents in a plastic bag and have the emergency backpack at hand.

Geological 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. (GVP)

Featured image: Eruption of Mexico's Colima volcano on January 25, 2017. Credit: Bnice Cortés

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