Colima volcano (Mexico), activity update: strong vulcanian explosion on Friday, overall decreasing activity

Sun, 5 Feb 2017, 08:56
08:56 AM | BY: T
Powerful explosion of Colima Friday afternoon 17:05 local time
Powerful explosion of Colima Friday afternoon 17:05 local time
A large vulcanian explosion happened on Friday afternoon (around 17:30 local time), generating an ash column that rose approx 4 km and generated a pyroclastic flow on the eastern flank.
This explosion was the first significant event since a similar event on 26 Jan. During the interval and since the explosion on Friday, the volcano has had only few and very week ash puffs at irregular intervals of average 8-12 hours, with no visible ejecta nor incandescence from the crater.

Whether the recent phase of relatively frequent and very strong vulcanian explosions is gradually coming to an end because of decreasing supply of fresh, viscous and very gas-rich magma, or whether the magma supply still continues at steady (although it seems lower) rate and more strong explosive activity is going to occur in the near future is left to speculation.

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Background:

Colima volcano is one of the most active in North America and one of the potentially most dangerous ones. It has had more than 30 periods of eruptions since 1585, including several significant eruptions in the late 1990s. Scientific monitoring of the volcano began 20 years ago. 

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 probable 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.
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Source: GVP, Smithsonian Institute - Colima information
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