Nevado del Huila, a 5,365-meter (17,600-foot) stratovolcano in the Colombian Andes, has been active since October 16, 2009. Tremors indicating movement of fluid within the volcano, surface emissions of gas and ash, and other volcanic activity were reported over the last few weeks by the Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería [Colombian Institute of Geology and Minerals (INGEOMINAS)]. Towering emissions of volcanic ash have been reported almost daily by the Joint Air Force and Army Weather Information Network.
A column of ash punched through the omnipresent clouds to a height of flight level 360 (11,000 meters) on October 28, 2009, according to the Joint Air Force and Army Weather Information Network. This natural-color image from the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured the plume at 10:15 a.m. Thick gray ash is visible over the summit of Nevado del Huila, with a diffuse plume stretching northwest (towards the upper left corner of the image).
According to the newspaper El Liberal, ashfall in the surrounding towns and villages was currently a nuisance, but it was not yet a serious risk to human health. INGEOMINAS assigned Huila an alert level of Orange, which means an eruption is probable within days or weeks.
NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response, Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Robert Simmon.