Colima Volcano |John Seach


Jalisco, Mexico

19.514 N,103.62 W
summit elevation 3850 m

Colima Volcanic Complex at the western end of the Mexican Volcanic Belt is the most active andesitic volcano in Mexico. The complex consists of a
northern, inactive summit cone (Nevado de Colima) and a southern, active cone (Fuego de Colima).

Colima volcano has been active for about five million years. There have been frequent historical eruptions from the summit crater. Pyroclastic flows, vertical ash columns and lava flows are characteristic of eruptions at the volcano. About 300,000 people live within 40 km of Colima, making it potentially one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes.

Eruptions at Colima are complex with explosive activity and both rapid and slow lava dome growth. The volcano is underlayed by two magma chambers, a shallow one at 6 km depth and one at 15 km depth.  Colima is the most active volcano in Mexico with early eruptions documented in a publication by Clavijero i  1780 called  Historia Antigua de Mexico.

2022 Earthquake
A magnitude 7.6 earthquake hit 130 km SSW of the volcano in 19 September 2022. 

2019 Eruption
Eruptions occurred at Colima volcano in 2019. Two small explosions were detected between 5-12 July.

2007-08 Eruptions
A new episode of lava dome growth in the crater has been occurring since February 2007. During overflights on 1st August and 8th November 2008 a significant increase in lava dome volume was observed.

2005 Eruptions
Eruptions at Colima volcano between March-June 2005 destroyed the 2004 lava dome, and created a crater 260 m wide and 30 m deep.

2002-03 Eruptions
A year long lava flow occurred at Colima volcano between February 2002 and February 2003.

1998-1999 eruptions
On 21st November 1998 the lava dome began to spill over the SW crater rim, producing pyroclastic flows. These had estimated speeds of 90 km/h and reached distances of 4.8 km in the El Cordoban ravine. Eruptions at Colima changed from effusive to explosive on 10th February 1999. Projectiles were ejected to a distance of 3.5 km from the crater.

1994 Eruption
A phreatic eruption occurred at Colima volcano on 21st July 1994. The eruption destroyed the 1991 crater dome and produced avalanches and ash fall. On 21st July an explosion was heard 35 km south of the volcano. The eruption created a shallow crater approximately 140 m in diameter and 50 m in depth.

1991 Eruption
On 16th April 1991 partial collapse of the dome and SW crater rim occurred, producing pyroclastic flows, and a blocky lava flow.

1987 Eruption
An eruption at Colima on 2nd July 1987 produced a mushroom cloud which reached a height of 1000 m above the crater.

1981-82 eruption
A new lava dome formed in the E part of the summit crater by 1981. On 9th December 1981 two dome explosions were followed by a lava flow over the south rim of the crater.

1975 Eruption
A large eruption occurred at Colima Volcano on 1st December 1975. Block lava spilled over the NE crater rim and the flow advanced toward Volcancito.

1961-62 Eruptions
Blocky andesite lava descended the northern flank of the cone to the floor of the caldera in 1961-62.

1913 Eruption
Colima erupted on 20th January 1913. Between 11:30am and 1:00 pm there was a continuous eruption. Ash fell at Saltillo 725 km NNE of the volcano.

1872 Eruption
A new series of eruptions began on 26th February 1872. ‘‘people of all classes prayed in the streets and squares requesting the mercy of God, with public processions carried out requesting penance’’.

1869 Eruption
An eruption began at Colima Volcano on 12th June 1869. This produced the first historical documented lava flow at the volcano.

1818 Eruption
A major eruption occurred on 15th February 1818 was the largest of the 19th century. At 20.00 h on 15th February the inhabitants of Zapotlan heard a deafening noise that was said to be similar to that of artillery fire. Ash fell at Zapotlan (25 km), Guadalajara (140 km), Guanajuato (310 km), Zacatecas (385 km), and San Luis Potosi (425 km). In in Valladolid 250 km E of Colima, troops confused the noise with ‘‘that of an artillery explosion’’.

1794 Eruption
In August 1794 a large explosion of Colima was felt 50 km from the volcano.

1769 Eruption
Flames illuminated the surroundings to a distance greater than Colima city (approximately 30 km).

1711 Eruption
Colima volcano erupted for three days, producing ashfall in the city of Guadalajara, and turning day to night.

1690 Eruption
During 1690 explosive eruptions with ash emission was accompanied by strong seismic activity.

1622 Eruptions
Explosive eruptions on 8th and 9th June 1622 produced ash fall 50 km from the volcano.

1611 Eruptions
Large explosive eruptions on 15th April and 29th October 1611, produced great quantities of ash, sand, and scoria.

1606 Eruptions
During the year 1606 there were two Pelean type eruptions, producing ash falls up to 50 km from the volcano.

1590 Eruption
Colima began erupting on 14th January 1590, and ended the following day.

1585 Eruption
On 10th January 1585, an eruption of Colima volcano was accompanied by strong seismic activity. Reports said the eruption caused the total blockage of the sun, with ash being distributed to a distance of 40 leagues (approximately 220 km). Fields were covered with ash that looked like a ‘big snow fall’ and caused the death of many cattle.

1576 Eruption
The volcano was reported as ‘‘tossed a lot of ¢re and caused the death
of many boys due to fright’’.

Colima Volcano Eruptions

2019, 2013, 2010-2011, 1998-2008, 1994, 1991, 1988-90, 1987, 1985-86, 1983?, 1977-82, 1975-76, 1973?, 1965-70, 1963-64, 1960-62, 1957-59, 1941?, 1913-31, 1908-09, 1904-06, 1903, 1893-1902, 1891-92, 1890, 1889-90, 1885-86, 1882-84, 1881, 1879-80, 1875-78, 1874, 1872-73, 1870-71, 1869, 1866-68, 1819, 1818, 1806-09, 1804, 1795, 1771, 1770, 1749, 1743, 1690, 1622, 1611-13, 1606, 1590, 1585, 1576, 1560.