GCSE Geography LEDC Volcanic Eruption Nevado del Ruiz

GCSE Geography LEDC Volcanic Eruption Nevado del Ruiz

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  • 5200m
  • in Columbia
  • most northern active volcano in the Andes
  • caused by subduction of Nazca Plate beneath the South American Plate
  • Forms eastern edge of the Pacific 'Ring of Fire'
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  • Main eruption - 13th Nov. 1985
  • column of ash sent 8km skywards
  • Lava fragments fell onto the snow and ice around the summit
  • causing it to melt rapidly = millions of cubic meters swept down the side of the volcano and into the surrounding valleys
  • Wave of mud (or lahar) 30m deep containing glacier ice, large boulders and scalding fragments of fresh lava poured down the Lagunillas valley at 50km/h.
  • Town of Armero with 22000 inhabitants was destroyed
  • within seconds buildings were flattened or buried
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Cont ...

  • Local farmers were reluctant to leave their prosperous farms
  • At first there was no lava, but rocks were hurled out, dense ash and sulphur cloud rose 8km into the air - drifted 500km to the Venezuelan border - covered most of the surrounding countryside in an ash layer
  • The heat rapidly melted ice and snow
  • flood waters rushed down the local rivers sweeping away houses and bridges
  • The eruption dislodged ancient layers of volcanic dust, this combined with the flood waters formed an unstable volcanic mud which began to flow rapidly down the mountain.
  • it reached speeds of +100km/h, one flow engulfed the town of Armero
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Cont ...

  • Death toll: 22,000 = worst volcanic eruption since 1902 mount Pelée
  • Columbian government declared the area under military control and appealed for help
  • The Red Cross and UN leaning from previous disasters co-ordinated their efforts and flew in medical supplies, tents, digging equipment and personnel
  • The thin mountain air and thick dust made it difficult for rescue helicopters to operate + destroyed bridges made it hard for rescuers to reach the worst hit areas + shortage of hand radios for communication = bad effect on the rescue effort
  • The spirit of the Columbian people was one of the best resources as they we hard at work etc.
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