Nevado del Huila Volcano | John Seach



2.92 N, 76.05 W
summit elevation 5364 m

Nevado del Huila is located 285 km SW of Bogota, Colombia. It is the highest point of the Cordillera Central of the Andes in Colombia. The volcano summit is covered by a glacier 13 km sq in area, with an average thickness of 55 m.

Nevado del Huila is an active volcanic complex formed by dominantly effusive activity. There is some evidence of dome collapse generating pyroclastic flows. There is a chain of volcanic cones from 200o m elevation in the south to the summit at 5364 m. Some structures show hydrothermal alteration, especially on the south peak, and this may promote debris avalanche.

Lahar Hazard
One of the greatest dangers at the volcano is melting of the summit ice cap during an eruption, resulting in formation of lahars.

Lava Flow Hazard
Nevado del Huila has produced lava flows which extend 13 km from the volcano. Lava flows which contact ice cap, may generate lahars.

November 2008 Eruption
An eruption occurred at Nevado del Huila Volcano in Colombia on Thursday 20th November 2008 at at 21:45 hr. This follows an increase in seismic activity over the past month. Authorities declared a state of red alert and ordered thousands of people to evacuate. This included towns of La Plata, Paicol, Nátaga and Tesalia. Mudflows killed 4 people, destroyed 20 homes and five bridges. Seismic activity decreased after the initial eruption.

2007 Eruption
Activity began at Nevado del Huila Volcano in February after being dormant for 450 years. The eruption was preceded by tornillo earthquakes, with 105 measured between March 2006 and February 2007. The rate of tornillos doubled between 1-19 February 2007. The eruption began at 0856 hr on 19th February 2007, with a 1.5 km high eruption column. Ashfall occurred at Toribio, Silvia, and Páez. Small mudflows descended Bellavista and Azufrada rivers feeding into the Paéz river.

Nevado del Huila volcano erupted at 02:57 local time 18th April 2007, causing avalanches and lahars which affected the villages of La Plata, Paicol, Tesalia, Natagá, Belalcázar. About 5,000 people were evacuated. Two ash clouds were produced, reaching heights of 9 km and 11 km and drifting east at 9 km/hour.

2000 Earthquake Swarms
Earthquake swarms occurred during February-May 2000. The first swarm occurred between 15-18 February and produced 61 earthquakes. The second swarm occurred on 24 May. It lasted for less than two hours and produced 90 earthquakes.

1994 Mudflow
In 1994 a magnitude 6.4 earthquake under Nevado del Huila volcano caused landslides and mudflows which destroyed towns, killed between 253 and 1200 people, displaced 20,000 people, destroyed six bridges and more than 100 km of roads.

Further reading
García, M.A., Vargas, C.A. and Koulakov, I.Y., 2019. Local earthquake tomography of the Nevado del Huila Volcanic Complex (Colombia): Magmatic and tectonic interactions in a volcanic‐glacier complex system. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth124(2), pp.1688-1699.

Worni, Raphael, et al. "Challenges of modeling current very large lahars at Nevado del Huila Volcano, Colombia." Bulletin of Volcanology 74.2 (2012): 309-324.

Nevado del Huila Volcano Eruptions

2009, 2008, 2007, 1555