In southern Columbia, near the border of Ecuador, the Galeras Volcano belched a plume of ash and smoke again on August 25th, 2010. The eruption prompted the Columbian Mining and Geology Authority to issue a ‘red alert’ for an imminent larger eruption. About 7000 residents near the Galeras Volcano are being asked to evacuate. The volcano suddenly became active on August 25th in what was termed a non-explosive eruption by the lead Columbian Vulcanology agency.
The ‘red alert’ means that a larger eruption is imminent within the next couple of days or weeks. The Galeras volcano has erupted in 2010 already, with ash plumes spewed out on January 3rd. In 2009, the volcano was active from January until March with several eruptions that prompted occasional residential evacuations.
The Galeras Volcano it is stratovolano, of the same type as Mount St. Helens in the the United States. The Galeras Volcano is located near the city of Pasto and is about 14,000 feet high.
Galeras has remained active over the past million years with numerous eruptions over its long history. Galeras is counted as the most active volcano in Columbia in more recent years. Recent eruptions have occurred every 20 to 50 years. However, as the 21st century kicked off, eruptions have been even more frequent, with events occurring every couple of years.
These recent eruptive episodes have been preceded by a series of familiar seismic events. These seismic events are called tornillo event. Tornillo events are a series of low frequency tremors. These precursor seismic events are now being used as a basis for the current activity that is being witnessed at Galeras Volcano, as about 80% of tornillo events at Galera Volcano have been followed by an eruption
Although the volcano is located in a remote area of Columbia, eruptions have led to several deaths in recent years. in 1993, a group of scientists were killed in the January 14th eruption when they ventured into the crater.
The eruptions of Galeras are usually brief. However the violence of the eruptions throw ash miles into the air. The ash plumes may have an effect on air travel in South America if more violent explosions are observed.