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  • The Colombian volcano Nevado del Ruiz (Photo: Colombia's Geological Service)

    The Colombian volcano Nevado del Ruiz (Photo: Colombia's Geological Service)

Published 6 December 2014

Authorities are monitoring increased activity from the Nevado del Ruiz Volcano, which last erupted in 1985, killing some 20,000.

Colombian experts continue monitoring the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, the most active volcano in the country, given its increased activity in recent days with emissions of gases and ash, and also internal earthquakes.  

Specialists reported a tectonic-volcanic quake inside the volcano Saturday, with a depth of about three kilometers which resulted in fractured rocks. The quake was felt in the nearby town of Las Brisas in Manizales an in northern Tolima. The 19 municipalities in the departments of Caldas and Risaralda remain on yellow alert (medium), however.

Located 220 kilometers west of Capital Bogota, the crater is part of the Andean Volcanic Belt which including another 74 similar formations.

The first eruptions of Nevado del Ruiz occurred about 1.8 million years ago. However, on November 13, 1985, after 69 years of dormancy the volcano's erupted, catching the nearby towns off guard. The lava from the volcanic crater melted the mountain's glaciers, sending enormous mudslides, landslides, and debris flowing down its slopes at 50 kilometers per hour. The mass engulfed the town of Armero, killing more than 20,000 of its almost 29,000 inhabitants. Casualties in other towns raised the overall death toll to 23,000.

The magnitude of the disaster captured worldwide attention, along with widespread criticism for the Colombian government which had ignored warnings from multiple specialists to evacuate the area due to the volcanic activity detected.

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