Increased seismic activity at Colima volcano, alert level raised, Mexico

Increased seismic activity at Colima volcano, alert level raised, Mexico

Increased seismic activity at Mexico's Colima volcano resulted in an increase of its alert level from Green to Yellow on April 26, 2019.

The National Coordination of Civil Protection, University of Colima and other agencies agreed last week that the increase in seismicity detected at Colima volcano was significant enough to increase the alert level. 

The exclusion zone has been established 8 km (5 miles) around the crater for the states of Colima and Jalisco.

Two probable scenarios were proposed in the short term:

(1) Moderate explosion, accompanied by a dome growth and (2) growth of lava dome and its subsequent lava flow.

Yellow alert level means the population should keep a close eye on the activity of the volcano by following official channels but can carry out their normal activities. They should also keep in mind the evacuation procedure.

The last eruptive episode of this volcano started at its summit crater on January 6, 2013 and ended on March 7, 2017 (VEI2).

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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 / 14 170 feet high point of the complex) on the north and the 3850-m-high (12 630 feet) 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 (3.1 miles) 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: Colima volcano at 18:31 LT on April 28, 2019. Credit: webcamsdemexico, CENAPRED

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