Seismic activity intensifies at Colombia’s Nevado del Huila volcano

nevado del huila volcano

At 00:38 local time on October 21, 2023, Colombia’s Nevado del Huila volcano experienced a significant earthquake with a magnitude of 3.6 at a depth of 1 km (0.6 miles) below its Central Peak. From then until 08:00 local time, a total of 320 earthquakes were recorded, associated with rock fracturing inside the volcano.

In a span of less than eight hours, the Nevado del Huila volcano in Colombia was the epicenter for a series of 320 earthquakes. The seismic events began with a M3.6 earthquake at a depth of 1 km (0.62 miles) below the Central Peak. The series included two other quakes with magnitudes above 2—specifically 2.0 and 2.9.

The epicentral distances for these earthquakes ranged between 0.5 and 2 km (0.31 and 1.24 miles), concentrated in the area influenced by the volcano. According to the Colombian Geological Service, these geological events are consistent with the current yellow alert status for the Nevado del Huila volcano. This alert level indicates an active volcano with changes in the base level of monitored parameters, including seismic activity among other manifestations.

The last eruption of Nevado del Huila occurred between October 2008 and January 2012, with a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 3. The volcano, the highest peak in the Colombian Andes, is part of an elongated N-S-trending volcanic chain covered by a glacier icecap. Built within a 10-km-wide (6.21 miles) caldera, the volcano’s structure comprises six volcanic cones whose ages generally migrated from south to north over time.

As a precautionary measure, authorities and the local community are advised to remain vigilant to any changes in the volcano’s activity.


1 Boletín extraordinario VN Huila de 21 de octubre de 2023, 11:34 a. m. – SGC

Featured image credit: SGC

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