colima volcano
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Fire Colima Volcano

The Fire  Volcano of Colima (3860 meters above see level) is an endemic volcano which is part, together with the Nevado de Colima (4330 meters above see level) of a volcanic complex located within the Mexican Neovolcanic Belt and whose geographic coordinates (19º30'44''N and 103º37'02''W) place this complex between the Mexican states of Colima (municipalities of Comala and Cuauhtémoc) and Jalisco (municipalities of Tuxpan, Zapotitlán and Tonila).

San Marcos, Tonila, Cofradía de Tonila, Causentla, El Fresnal, Atenguillo, Saucillo, El Embudo and El Chayán, in the state of Jalisco. Other towns from the two states that are further afield may also be affected, such as Quesería, Ciudad Guzmán, Tuxpan, the city of Colima, Villa de Álvarez, Comala and Cuauhtémoc, to name a few.
Today, in both Colima and Jalisco, there are several towns that would be in danger if a volcanic eruption takes place. The deposit of pyroclastic flows, pumice and ash rain, as well as mudflow and lahars could affect first, the towns of La Yerbabuena, La Becerrera, Barranca de Agua, Rancho El Jabalí, Suchitlán, San Antonio and Rancho La Joya, in the state of Colima, in addition to Juan Barragáns agostadero, Los Machos, El Borobollón, Durazno,

Fire Volcano in Colima

Call: 33 1578 0421

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Colima Volcano Guadalajara
MXN  990
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Explore the fire Volcano area (active), wonderful wild life, rich in flora and fauna. Enjoy Comala the white painted and red roof tile houses that inspired writers like Juan Rulfo and Grabriel GarcIa Màrquez. You will experience the magic zone. After a traditional meal enjoy a panoramic tour of Colima city.
Colima Volcano Trip
Fire Volcano Colima
54 EURO
$  69  U$D
tour Guadalajara
city of guadalajara
mexico travel
Rates in Mexican Pesos,  per person, Please read our Terms and Conditions
2.5 hour drive experience to the Volcano area
Biligual Tour Guide
Admission to all place mentiones
Transport from/ to Hotel or your Private Address
Departures Daily Departures: Monday - Sunday
What time? From 8:00 am - 7:00 pm aprox.
Where we depart from? We pick you up at your hotel or private address in the Guadalajara Metro area
Departure
Includes
Fire volcano in Jalisco and Colima in eruption
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Introduction

The Volcano (3860 metres above see level) is an andesitic stratovolcano which is part, together with the Nevado de Colima (4330 metres above see level) of a volcanic complex located within the Mexican Neovolcanic Belt and whose geographic coordinates (19º30'44''N and 103º37'02''W) place this complex between the Mexican states of Colima (municipalities of Comala and Cuauhtémoc) and Jalisco (municipalities of Tuxpan, Zapotitlán and Tonila).

Over the course of the past 500 years, the Volcano of Fire has frequently reported activity of the explosive kind, with over 30 eruptions. The most important eruptions are those of the following years: 1585, 1606, 1622, 1690, 1818, 1869, 1890, 1903 y 1913, to name a few. In addition, minor activity must be taken into account. All of the above shows that this volcano has increased its eruptive process over the course of the past five centuries, and the activity that it has maintained nowadays is the reason why more studies must continue to be carried out into the danger and risk posed by the volcano at the moment of a new eruption.

Today, both in Colima and Jalisco, there are a number of towns that would be in danger should a volcanic eruption take place. The deposit of pyroclastic flows, pumice and ash rain, as well as mudflows and lahars could affect, firstly, the towns of La Yerbabuena, La Becerrera, Barranca de Agua, Rancho El Jabalí, Suchitlán, San Antonio and Rancho La Joya, in the state of Colima, in addition to Juan Barragán, Agostadero, Los Machos, El Borobollón, Durazno, San Marcos, Tonila, Cofradía de Tonila, Causentla, El Fresnal, Atenguillo, Saucillo, El Embudo and El Chayán, in the state of Jalisco. Other towns from the two states that are further afield may also be affected, such as Quesería, Ciudad Guzmán, Tuxpan, the city, Villa de Álvarez, Comala and Cuauhtémoc, to name a few.

History of the Volcano’s activity

During the past 500 years, the Volcano of has reported over 40 eruptive events of the explosive and effusive kind, which include those occurred in 1585, 1606, 1622, 1690, 1818, 1869, 1872, 1890, 1903, 1913, 1975-76, 1998-99, 2001-2003 and 2005. In addition, minor activity must be taken into account. All of the above shows that it has increased its eruptive process over the course of the past five centuries, and the activity that it has maintained nowadays is the reason why more studies must continue to be carried out into the danger and risk posed  at the moment of a new eruption.

Clear manifestations shown during its periods of activity are the eruptions of magmatic material thrown out in different ways. Other pre-eruptive manifestations that have also been reported enable us to predict an eruption. One of the latest, reported in 1913, left a crater measuring approximately 500 meters in depth. This crater began to fill with lava over time and lava eventually flowed beyond the edges of the crater, thus forming a dome that blocked the main chimney. In 1991, an episode of lava dome growth in blocks resulted in the partial collapse of the body itself, thus producing slides of incandescent material and eventual lahars. The effusive eruption (1998) showed that the internal activity of the volcano displays the patters of the behaviour of past centuries during which the eruptive cycle ends with a change in the style of the activity and a subplinian to plinian eruption with an eruptive column higher than 10 kilometres and an ash rain that covered a radius no larger than 30 kilometres. In addition, this eruption produced pyroclastic flows down the slopes covering a radius of 15 kilometres, just as it happened in 1818 and 1913.

The latest explosions include those of 1987 and 21 July 1994, which produced a crater on the surface of the dome that was formed in 1991 and reached a diameter of 130 metres by 50 metres in depth, and also produced a light ash rain on the west. On 10 February 1999, a new explosive event was reported at the summit. Smaller eruptions were also reported on 18 February and 10 May 1999. A new and violent explosion occurred in 17 July 1999, which threw out a large amount of incandescent material that ran down the slopes, and produced an ash column higher than eight kilometres. During the months of May (16, 24 and 30) and June (2 and 5) five of the most important explosive events recorded by the monitoring systems of the U of C occurred.

The explosive event that took place on 5 June 2005, at 14:20 (local time), produced pyroclastic flows throughout the entire building, and produced a column higher than four kilometres from the summit, which was blown by the winds to the south-east of it at a speed of 25 km/hr approximately.

According to our seismic records, this event was 1.2 times bigger than that of 30 May 2005, and three times bigger than that of 17 July 1999. As a result, this is the biggest explosive event recorded during the almost 15 years of ongoing monitoring.

The monitoring of the Volcano of Fire is the responsibility of the staff of the Observatory of the University of Col. with the assistance of the Civil Protection System of the state.

Tectonic Summary


Since the Pliocene, subduction of the Cocos and Rivera plates under the North American plate has been responsible for the formation of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. (TMVB) The TMVB is a continental volcanic arc measuring almost 1000km that crosses the central part of Mexico from the Gulf of California to the Gulf of Mexico. It contains at least 11 large volcanic centres that have been active for approximately 20,000 years.

The volcanism in the TMVB is characterised by a variety of volcanic structures, (stratovolcanoes, monogenetic cones, calderas and domes) styles of activity and composition of products; which are generally found to be calc-alkaline.

The complex is located in the western sector of the TMVB in an area called the Jalisco Block, is bound to the north and east by the continental triple junction of 3 rift zones and is characterised by normal faults and rotation blocks. These are the Tepic-Zacoalco rift or graben, the Chapala rift and the Sayula-North Colima rift. In the west and south the complex is bound by the Mesoamerican trench. (See fig. 1) The western wall of the Sayula-North side graben shows a net relief of 1700m with at least 700m of exposed fault plain and 1000m of intra-graben sediment fill. (Allen, 1986) The bulk of the Jalisco Block consists of the Puerto Vallarta Batholith, (100-75 Ma., Schaaf et al., 1995) which has experienced a substantial amount of uplift since its emplacement. (Rosas-Elguera et al., 1996)

The extensional active tectonics in these rift zones for the last 10 Ma. has caused a total displacement of 1.5-3.5km, (Allan, 1986) the separation of the Jalisco Block from the North American Plate (Luhr et al., 1985; Allan, 1986; Allan et al., 1991) and its transfer approximately 14 Ma. ago to the Pacific Plate. (Luhr et al., 1985; Barrier et al., 1990) This occurred perhaps in a similar manner as to that which happened during the formation of the Gulf of California. However in the Colima graben area, the thickness of the continental crust is between 30 and 46 km, i.e. a figure not necessarily thinner than in adjacent regions. (Urrutia-Fuccugauchi and Molina-Garza, 1992) In the Jalisco Block area, extensional tectonics are superimposed onto the compressional tectonics caused by the subduction of the Rivera plate under the North American plate. The Jalisco Block region is located to the west of the interaction zone of the Rivera, Cocos and North American plates. (See fig.1) The Rivera plate is converging at approximately 2.4cm per year, whereas in the Jalisco Block region, the northwest part of the Cocos plate is converging at a rate of approximately 4.8cm per year. (Pardo and Suárez, 1995)

The complex extensional and compressional tectonics of the northern and eastern boundaries has been responsible for some of the most major earthquakes recorded in the Mesoamerican trench region. Although seismicity related to the subduction of the Cocos plate is low, at least 6 earthquakes with Ms > 7 have occurred since 1837. This includes Mexico’s largest recorded earthquake, the great Jalisco earthquake of 1932 measuring Ms 8.2. (Eissler and McNally, 1984; Singh et al., 1985; Pardo and Suárez, 1995) Many large earthquakes related to subduction of the Cocos plate in the Jalisco Block area have occurred. These include the 1973 Colima earthquake (Ms = 7.5) which caused significant damage in the coastal town of Tecomán; and the Manzanillo earthquake of 9th October 1995 that caused vast structural damage and loss of life, Mw = 7.9, at least 48 dead. (Ramirez et al., 1995) Crustal deformation in the Jalisco Block has also generated historical seismicity, e.g. The 1568 earthquake, Mw = 7. (Suárez et al., 1994)

Geologic Summary

The complex (CVC) consists of a north south oriented chain of 3 principal volcanic centres. The oldest and most eroded is the Cántaro Volcano (2900m) located in the north. The Nevado, (4240m) an extinct large composite volcano is located south of the Cántaro Volcano; and the active stratovolcano (3860m) is located further south and is the closest (170km) to the Mesoamerican trench subduction zone. The Nevado  and the Volcano form part of a north south chain of paired volcanoes with the most recent volcanism concentrated towards the south with volcanoes such as Iztaccihuatl and Popocatépetl, located in the central part of the TMVB. The Cofre de Perote volcano and the active Pico de Orizaba (Citaltépetl)  are located in the eastern part of the TMVB. Other pairs of andesitic stratovolcanoes, the most active of which are located closest to the trench have also been related; for Guatemala, see Newhall et al, 1987, for Chile, see Francis et al, 1972 and for Japan, see Nakamura, 1978.

The most valid K-Ar dates from Allan (1984; 1986) indicate that calc-alkaline dacitic volcanism associated with the formation of the Cántaro volcano and related vents has spanned a time period from 1.7 Ma. to 0.6 Ma. Approximately 15km south of the Cántaro Volcano, the largest composite volcano of the area, the Nevado de Colima (300-500km³) began its activity approximately 0.53 Ma. ago. (Robin et al, 1987) Various caldera forming eruptive phases have been recognised by Robin et al. (1987). The evidence according to Robin et al, (1984, 1990) indicates that the Nevado de Colima was active possibly as recent as 8000 years ago. Stoopes and Sheridan (1992) believe that there was a voluminous avalanche (22-33 km³) that deposited debris up to the Pacific Coast. They dated this avalanche by 14C at approximately 18,500 B.P. and believe it to have been caused by the lateral collapse of the third Nevado structure. (Robin et al, 1984, 1987)

The smaller cone, (12km3 approx.) the active composite volcano the Volcán de Fuego was constructed in the late Pleistocene period on the northern slopes of the much larger Nevado structure. There are no published K-Ar dates for lava from the Volcano, although Robin et al. (1987) discuss an intuitive age of 50,000 years or less. The complex consists of at least 2 main structures, the first of which is an older Paleo-fuego structure that may have had a maximum height of 4100m before its collapse sometime in the last 10,000 years. This collapse formed a lateral horseshoe shaped depression in which a new active cone grew to a height of 3860m with slopes of up to 36-40º. Luhr and Prestegaard, (1988) have depicted the date of this collapse as approximately 4300 years ago B.P., but Robin et al. (1987) suggest a much younger age of 2,500 years for the last structural collapse and therefore 2,500 years of age for the present active cone. In addition, Komorowski (1997) has definedthe present lateral collapse of the vertical escarpment known as the Playón Caldera Wall, as the result of a polyphase edifice collapse.

Finally, scoria cones and alkaline lava of the late Pleistocene age are extremely common on the lower slopes of the Nevado and Cántaro volcanoes and also on the Colima graben floor near Ciudad Guzmán. These are linked to more extensional tectonics. (Luhr and Carmichael, 1981) A geomorphologic model of cinder cone degradation in the Colima area by Hooper (1995) suggests an age of 0.25 Ma. for the oldest cinder cone in the area.

The high topography that surrounds the eastern, southern and south-western sides is formed by Jurassic, Cretaceous folded and locally thrust-faulted limestone, other marine sedimentary rocks, (clastic and evaporitic facies) Cretaceous arc basalt and Cretaceous to Quaternary granitic to granodioritic intrusives. (Pantoja-Alor and Barraza, 1986; Salazar, 1983; Sloan, 1989; Smith, 1990; Michaud et al., 1989; Quintero, 1995; Rosas-Elguera et al., 1996) The Colima basin was filled with several hundreds of metres of Plio-Pleistocene gravel, colluvium and volcaniclastics, including primary Pleistocene and Holocene volcanic debris avalanche deposits from the CVC. Exploratory oil wells drilled by PEMEX near the towns of Colima and Tepames (i.e. oil wells, Colima-1, Tepames-1 and Jalisco-1) go through a broad sequence (3.5km) of old volcanic and carbonate units before reaching a sequence of andesitic lava and tuff, probably part of the Cretaceous Tecalitlán formation. (Grajales-nishimura and Lopez-Infanzón, 1983).
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