INGEOMINAS reported an explosive eruption from Galeras that began at 1910 on 14 February; the Alert Level was raised from III (Yellow; “changes in the behavior of volcanic activity”) to I (Red; “imminent eruption or in progress”), on a scale of 4-1. An accompanying shock wave was detected in multiple areas, including in parts of Pasto (about 10 km E). The altitude of the resultant ash plume was not known nor observed on satellite images due to cloud cover. From about 1930 until 2030 ashfall, rain, and an odor of sulfur gas were reported on the slopes of the volcano as well as in Pasto. Ash deposits were mainly in areas to the E and as far away as 25 km. Seismicity returned at 1950 to similar levels recorded prior to the eruption and remained low. On 16 February, the Alert Level was lowered to II (Orange; “probable eruption in term of days or weeks”). During 16-17 February, small steam plumes rose to altitudes of 4.6-6.7 km (15,100-22,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE, E, and NE.
According to news articles, authorities ordered the evacuation of about 8,000 people living on the slopes, but few went to evacuation shelters.
Sources: Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería (INGEOMINAS), Agence France-Presse, Caracol Radio – “Report provided courtesy of the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program.”