Water contents, temperatures and diversity of the magmas of the catastrophic eruption of Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia, November 13, 1985

William G. Melson, James F. Allan, Deborah Reid Jerez, Joseph Nelen, Marta Lucia Calvache, Stanley N. Williams, John Fournelle, Mike Perfit

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34 Scopus citations

Abstract

The petrology of the highly phyric two-pyroxene andesitic to dacitic pyroclastic rocks of the November 13, 1985 eruption of Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia, reveals evidence of: (1) increasingly fractionated bulk compositions with time; (2) tapping of a small magma chamber marginally zoned in regard to H2O contents (1 to 4%), temperature (960-1090°C), and amount of residual melt (35 to 65%); (3) partial melting and assimilation of degassed zones in the hotter less dense interior of the magma chamber; (4) probable heating, thermal disruption and mineralogic and compositional contamination of the magma body by basaltic magma "underplating"; and (5) crustal contamination of the magmas during ascent and within the magma chamber. Near-crater fall-back or "spill-over" emitted in the middle of the eruptive sequence produced a small pyroclastic flow that became welded in its central and basal portions because of ponding and thus heat conservation on the flat glaciated summit near the Arenas crater. The heterogeneity of Ruiz magmas may be related to the comparatively small volume (0.03 km3) of the eruption, nearly ten times less than the 0.2 km3 of the Plinian phase of Mount St. Helens, and probable steep thermal and PH2O gradients of a small source magma chamber, estimated at 300 m long and 100 m wide for an assumed ellipsoidal shape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-126
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Volume41
Issue number1-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 15 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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