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Cerro Negro de Mayasquer volcano
stratovolcano 4445 m / 14,583 ft
Colombia, 0.83°N / -77.96°W
Current status: restless (2 out of 5)
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Cerro Negro de Mayasquer volcano (Colombia): magnitude 5.8 earthquake, alert level raised

Wednesday Oct 22, 2014 09:24 AM | BY: T

Orange alert has been declared for the volcanic complex at the Colombia-Ecuador border, after a magnitude 5.8 earthquake occurred under the volcano last Monday.
This earthquake, located at shallow 10 km depth southwest of the Chiles cone, seems to be directly linked to the ongoing crisis at the volcano. The volcano has recently been showing increased signs of volcanic unrest and inflation. This could be the sign of magma rising with the volcano and result in an eruption, although it is not possible to quantify how likely this might be.

Since a seismic network had been installed in early 2013, the volcano has had two impressive peaks of earthquakes, the first one occurring between Sep 2013 and Jan 2014 with over 100,000 small events detected. A second peak with 25,000 quakes occurred between late April and July this year, when the alert level was first raised to yellow.
A new seismic swarm has started on 29 September and until now counts nearly 40,000 quakes. In addition, a slow inflation (swelling of the mountain) located southwest of the cone Chiles has been detected by scientists.
Some of the seismic activity has the characteristics believed to represent fluid (gasses, water, magma) movements at depth, although most earthquakes are related to small rock fracturing events (which could be purely tectonic in nature and not necessarily related to magma).
The volcano has only a short history of monitoring and not have any known eruption in the past 10,000 years. This makes it extremely difficult to asses how likely it is that it awakes in a near to medium future. However, Colombian and Ecuadorian scientists take the situation very seriously and have started to prepare hazard maps for various kind of possible eruption scenarios.
A special bulletin of IGEPN also states that the recorded deformation has increased in recent days. This bulletin concluded that the observed monitoring parameters are compatible with the scenario of a magma intrusion that could lead to a sudden, potentially large, phreatic or even magmatic eruption, even on a short timescale (weeks).
Whether an eruption will actually occur or not is impossible to predict.
Previous news
Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014
Seismic unrest continues at the volcanic massif of Chiles and Cerro Negro. However, it decreased during the past week with less than 700 events recorded, compared to 1500-1800 per week during the month before. ... read all
Friday, May 30, 2014
Unrest at the volcano continues in the form of earthquakes under the Chiles-Cerro Negro volcanic massif. During the past week, the monitoring network recorded around 6500 quakes, mostly located less than 4 km SW from the summit at depths ranging between 1 and 8 km and with magnitudes of up to 4.0 on the Richter scale. ... read all
Saturday, May 10, 2014
The seismic crisis under the volcano continues. Thousands of small earthquakes, both volcano-tectonic (due to rock fracturing caused by magma pressure) and long-period (due to fluid movements) earthquakes continue to be registered. read all
Friday, May 02, 2014
The alert level of the twin-volcanoes Cerro Negro and Chiles has been raised to yellow in response to an ongoing seismic crisis and deformation that has been detected since November 2013, when a new monitoring network had been installed. ... read all
Thursday, Mar 13, 2014
More than 11,000 micro-earthquakes at shallow depths were recorded beneath the volcanoes of Cerro Negro de Mayasquer and Chiles during the past few months, INGEOMINAS Pasto volcano observatory reported. ... read all

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