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Volcanos in Colombia

At 5 volcanos in Colombia there have been a total of 9 siginificant eruptions over the past 500 years. Over 24800 people were killed. The worst volcanic eruption in terms of deaths, destroyed houses and financial damages happened on 11/13/1985 at the volcano "Ruiz". Only here 23080 people died.

6 of 10 volcanos in Colombia are considered as still active.

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Back to overview: Colombia

Colombia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which stretches for about 40,000 km around the Pacific Ocean. Here the tectonic plate of the Pacific collides with several surrounding continental plates and seismic tremors occur again and again. Most of the world's volcanic eruptions, which are also the most severe, occur in this zone.

Ruiz volcano eruption

The previously erupted Ruiz volcano remains active. Its summit lies at an altitude of 5,321 meters. Escaping lava, ash and gases have massive impact on the surrounding areas and air traffic. At about 6:30 am local time on Monday, a warning was still in effect up to an altitude of 6,400 meters. Previously, ash clouds rose to an altitude of 7,300 meters. However, the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) in Washington currently assumes a decrease in volcanic activity.

Significant volcanic eruptions in Colombia in the last 500 years

The following list shows all volcanoes of the last 500 years with significant damage. The column "VEI" stands for the volcano explosivity index, which represents the strength of the eruption from a geological point of view. This takes into account the height and volume of the rocks ejected. The scale ranges from 0-8, with the severity of the outbreak increasing tenfold with each value. For example, a VEI of 1 means that the volcano throws lava and rock masses of 100,000 to 1 million cubic metres up to 1 kilometre high. From VEI 8 a volcano is considered a super volcano. Here, more than 1000 cubic kilometers of tephra are thrown to altitudes of more than 25 kilometers.

The highest explosivity index in Colombia was reached in the review period at VEI 4 in 1899. The volcano Dona Juana threw tephramasses of at least 100 million cubic meters over 10 kilometers high. Volcanoes of this size do not normally erupt more frequently than every 10 years.

EruptionVolcanoVEIDeathsTotal damage
11/20/2008Huila010
04/18/2007Huila00
01/14/1993Galeras29
11/13/1985Ruiz323080
05/26/1949Purace217
11/13/1899Dona Juana455
05/25/1885Purace30
02/19/1845Ruiz31000
03/12/1595Ruiz4636


All volcanos in Colombia

VolcanoElevationStatusLast eruption
Azufral de Tuquerres4070 mSolfatara stage
Dona Juana4250 mActive
Galeras4482 mActive01/14/1993
Machin2750 mSolfatara stage
Mesa Nevada deHerveo5590 mSolfatara stage
Nevado del Huila5750 mSolfatara stage
Nevado del Ruiz5400 mActive
Nevado del Tolima5215 mActive
Purace4600 mActive05/26/1949
Sotara4580 mPotentially active



These statistics are based on datas from the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program (GVP), and the Significant Volcanic Eruptions Database of the National Geophysical Data Center (NOAA) / World Data Service (NGDC/WDS) doi:10.7289/V5JW8BSH. Several data have been summarized and translated.
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