June 8, 2012 – The Nevado Del Ruiz Volcano Heats Up in Colombia: Local authorities ordered the evacuation of 24 families residing near the Nevado Del Ruiz volcano (17,457 feet or 5,321 meters). The volcano, located in central Colombia, is being evacuated due to concerns that there could be an eruption in the coming days or weeks. The order will be in place for one month. A further 39 families have been notified of a potential evacuation. Some of the people who would suffer the greatest risk in the event of an eruption have failed to respond to the evacuation order, according to the newspaper El Espectador. The evacuated families will each be given a compensation of 150,000 pesos ($84.68 USD) from the Municipal Office for the Prevention of Natural Disasters (OMPAD), according to Radio Santa Fe. According to the most recent report from the Seismological and Volcanic Observatory of Manizales, the volcanic instability is likely to continue over the next few weeks. The alert level for Nevado Del Ruiz sits at orange, meaning an eruption is probable but not imminent.
Pictured above, a cluster of rounded boulders was deposited on a river terrace by a lahar in the Río Chinchina valley, 59 kilometers (37 miles) WNW of the summit of Colombia’s Nevado Del Ruiz volcano on November 13, 1985. The boulders were carried as bedload and deposited against the tree, which served as an obstruction to flow. Note the mudline on the tree that marks the upper flow surface of the lahar. The man next to the boulder gives one an idea of the huge lahars (mudflows) involved. Photo by Tom Pierson, 1985 (U.S. Geological Survey).
Nevado Del Ruiz is a broad, glacier-covered volcano in central Colombia that covers more than 200 square kilometers (124 sq. Miles). Pictured below is a hazards map for the volcano, with the dark red showing mudflows (lahars) from the deadly November 13, 1985 eruptions.
The concern is that the volcano is capable tremendous destruction. On November 13, 1985; Nevado Del Ruiz erupted causing Colombia’s worst natural disaster – killing 23,080 and injuring 10,000. It was South America’s most deadly volcanic eruption. The top picture is a photograph of that tremendous eruption. Although it was only a VEI 3 event, the mudflows and lahars took their deadly toll. (Credits: Hazards map from Wright and Pierson, Narrative – RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service (EDIS), W. G. Foster and The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History).
The Master of Disaster