The 2500 Year Bp Chicoral Non-Cohesive Debris Flow From Cerro Machin Volcano, Colombia

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Journal Article: The 2500 Year Bp Chicoral Non-Cohesive Debris Flow From Cerro Machin Volcano, Colombia

Cerro Machin Volcano (CMV) is located in the central part of the Colombian Andes (2750 m asl), 150 km southwest of Bogota. It is considered the most dangerous active volcano of Colombia. CMV has experienced at least six major explosive eruptions during the last 5000 years. These eruptions have emplaced many types of pyroclastic deposits with associated lahars that have traveled more than 100 km. One of these lahars is called Chicoral Debris Flow Deposit (DFD2). This deposit is exposed as discontinuous terraces (3-20 m thick) along the Coello and Magdalena rivers up to 109 km from the source. The DFD2 covers a minimum area of 62 km2 and has a minimum volume of 0.57 km3. It comprises two dacite-rich volcaniclastic units. Grain-size analysis reveals that the matrix content and sorting increase with distance while the average grain size decreases. The clay content of the DFD2 matrix is approximately 1%, thus categorizing it as a non-cohesive debris flow. Radiocarbon dates obtained from underlying and overlying paleosols yielded ages of 2505 + 65 and 1640 + 45 yr B.P., respectively. These dates suggest that DFD2 is related to the ~ 2600 yr B.P. El Guaico eruption of CMV. This eruption produced a block-and-ash flow that filled and blocked the Toche River up to 5 km from the volcano. Subsequent remobilization of this loose material by runoff water generated a massive debris flow that traveled 91 km along the Toche and Coello rivers and continued across the Espinal Alluvial Fan debouching into the Magdalena River where it continued another 18 km prior to its transformation into a sediment-laden flow. Because the last eruption of the volcano occurred ca. 900 years ago, no historic activity of CMV is known among inhabitants of the region. Hence the region has developed without awareness of volcanic hazards. Therefore an assessment of volcanic hazards is essential for understanding and evaluating the vulnerability and risk to which people are exposed in case of a future eruption. Such assessment is critical for urban planning, development, contingency, emergency and education planning.

H. F. Murcia, B. O. Hurtado, G. P. Cortes, J. L. Macias and H. Cepeda

Published Journal 
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 2008

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H. F. Murcia,B. O. Hurtado,G. P. Cortes,J. L. Macias,H. Cepeda. 2008. The 2500 Year Bp Chicoral Non-Cohesive Debris Flow From Cerro Machin Volcano, Colombia. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. (!) .