Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Galeras Volcano, Colombia

  • Barry Voight
  • Marta L. Calvache
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_349

Summary points

Galeras Volcano, Colombia: Volcano Crises, 1988–2010+: Adverse Impacts without a Major Eruption
  • Lava dome growth with strong seismic, deformation and gas precursors

  • Vulcanian explosions with very subtle precursors and strong shocks

  • Fears of population early in crisis magnified by 1985 Nevado del Ruiz catastrophe

  • Lack of a pre-crisis hazard map led to a chain-reaction of events that culminated in an economic crisis, hostility of authorities and loss of credibility of the scientists

  • Important lessons for safety of volcanologists from 1993 tragedy

  • Continuing difficulty of compliance to evacuation recommendations


Located in southwest Colombia, 4,270-m high Galeras Volcano rises 1,600 m above Pasto, the capital city and economic nucleus of Narino Province (Figure 1). It is the most active volcano in Colombia. Pasto is located on the eastern slope of the volcano, about 7–11 km from the crater. Its population is about 350,000, and over 50,000 more people reside in...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.



We thank our highly dedicated colleagues at OV Pasto for much support, notably F. Munoz, H. Cepeda, E. Parra., D. Gomes, R. Torres. The 1989 mission to Galeras by BV, R. Janda and D. Harlow was supported by USGS and United Nations (UNDRO) funds. C. Cardenas and O.D. Cardona of ONAD provided assistance and insight. We recall the memory of colleagues and friends killed in the 1993 eruption, Geoff Brown, Fernando Cuenca, Nestor Garcia, Igor Menyailov, Carlos Trujillo, and Jose Arles Zapata, and of Bruno Martinelli, dear friend and wise advisor to the Pasto observatory scientists.


  1. Aramaki, S., Barberi, F., Casadevall, T., and McNutt, S., 1994. Safety recommendations for volcanologists and the public. Bulletin of Volcanology, 56, 151–154.Google Scholar
  2. Aspinall, W. P., Woo, G., Voight, B., and Baxter, P. J., 2003. Evidence-based volcanology: application to eruption crises. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 128, 273–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baxter, P. J., and Gresham, A., 1997. Deaths and injuries in the eruption of Galeras volcano, Colombia, 14 January 1993. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 77, 325–338 (causes of casualties and advice on safety).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Calvache, M. L. V., 2000. Mt. Galeras: activities and lessons to be learned. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 358, 1607–1617 (summary of activity and management problems).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cardona, O. D., 1997. Management of the volcano crises of Galeras volcano: social, economic and institutional aspects. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 77, 313–324 (insights on management).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chouet, B. A., 1996. New methods and future trends in seismological volcano monitoring. In Scarpa, R., and Tilling, R. (eds.), Monitoring and Mitigation of Volcano Hazards. Berlin: Springer, pp. 23–97 (seismicity types).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cortes, G. P., and Raigosa, J. J. A., 1997. A synthesis of the recent activity of Galeras volcano: seven years of continuous surveillance, 1989–1995. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 77, 101–114 (summary of monitoring over full crisis period).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gil Cruz, F., and Chouet, B., 1997. Long-period events, the most characteristic seismicity accompanying the emplacement and extrusion of a lava dome in Galeras volcano, Colombia. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 77, 121–158 (detailed study of long-period seismicity).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gomez, D. M., and Torres, R. A., 1997. Unusual low-frequency volcanic seismic events with slowly decaying coda waves observed at Galeras and other volcanoes. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 77, 173–194 (compares ‘tornillo’-type events at Galeras and other volcanoes).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hurtado Artunduaga, A. D., and Cortes Jimenez, G. P., 1997. Third version of the hazard map of Galeras volcano. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 77, 89–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Janda, R. J., and Voight, B., 1989. Mission to Galeras volcano, Colombia, April–May 1989: Results and recommendations. Report to USGS, United Nations and Colombian officials, 49 pp.Google Scholar
  12. Monastersky, R., 2001. Under the volcano. The Chronicle of Higher Ed., A18-22 (March 30) (review of contrasting opinions of 1993 disaster).Google Scholar
  13. Munoz, F. A., et al., 1993. Galeras volcano: international workshop and eruption. Eos Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 74(6), 286–287.Google Scholar
  14. Narvaez, L. M., Torres, R. A., Gomez, D. M. M., Cortes, G. P. J., Cepeda, H. V., and Stix, J., 1997. ‘Tornillo’-type seismic signals at Galeras volcano, Colombia. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 77, 159–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Smithsonian Bull. Global Volcanism Network (BGVN), 2009. 34(12), 9–10.Google Scholar
  16. Stix, J., Calvache, M. L. V., and Williams, S. N., 1997. Galeras Volcano, Colombia: interdisciplinary study of a Decade volcano. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 77(1–4), 338. (comprehensive scientific treatise on Galeras).Google Scholar
  17. Zapata, J. A., et al., 1997. SO2 fluxes from Galeras volcano, Colombia, 1989–1995: progressive degassing and conduit obstruction of a Decade Volcano. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 77, 195–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesPenn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Geological SurveyCascades Volcano ObservatoryVancouverUSA
  3. 3.INGEOMINASBogotaColombia