NATURAL DISASTER STUDIES

Volume Four

THE ERUPTION OF NEVADO DEL RUIZ VOLCANO COLOMBIA, SOUTH AMERICA NOVEMBER 13, 1985

Prepared by:

Dennis S. Mileti (Team Leader), Department of Sociology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Patricia A. Bolton, Battelle Research Center, Seattle

Gabriel Fernandez, University of Illinois, Urbana

Randall G. Updike, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, (formerly Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Eagle River)

For:

Committee on Natural Disasters

Division of Natural Hazard Mitigation

Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS

Washington, D.C. 1991



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NATURAL DISASTER STUDIES Volume Four THE ERUPTION OF NEVADO DEL RUIZ VOLCANO COLOMBIA, SOUTH AMERICA NOVEMBER 13, 1985 Prepared by: Dennis S. Mileti (Team Leader), Department of Sociology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins Patricia A. Bolton, Battelle Research Center, Seattle Gabriel Fernandez, University of Illinois, Urbana Randall G. Updike, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, (formerly Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Eagle River) For: Committee on Natural Disasters Division of Natural Hazard Mitigation Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1991

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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 91-60824 International Standard Book Number 0-309-04477-4 A limited number of copies of this monograph are available from: Committee on Natural Disasters National Research Council, HA 258 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 202/334-3312 Additional copies are available for sale from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 202/334-3313 1-800-624-6242 Printed in the United States of America S-322

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NATURAL DISASTER STUDIES An Investigative Series of the Committee on Natural Disasters The Committee on Natural Disasters and its predecessors, dating back to the committee that studied the 1964 Alaska Earthquake, have conducted on-site studies and prepared reports reflecting their findings and recommendations on the mitigation of natural disaster effects. Objectives of the committee are to: record time-sensitive information immediately following disasters; provide guidance on how engineering and the social sciences can best be applied to the improvement of public safety; recommend research needed to advance the state of the art in the area of natural disaster reduction; and conduct special studies to address long-term issues in natural disasters, particularly issues of a multiple-hazard nature. EDITOR Riley M. Chung National Research Council EDITORIAL BOARD Dennis S. Mileti, Chair Colorado State University Fort Collins Arthur N. L. Chiu University of Hawaii at Manoa Honolulu Joseph H. Golden National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Washington, D.C. Dale C. Perry Texas A&M University College Station Norbert S. Baer New York University New York, New York Hanna J. Cortner University of Arizona Tucson Wilfred D. Iwan California Institute of Technology Pasadena William J. Petak University of Southern California Los Angeles Earl J. Baker Florida State University Tallahassee Peter Gergely Cornell University Ithaca, New York Ahsan Kareem University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, Indiana Robert L. Schuster U.S. Geological Survey Denver, Colorado SPONSORING AGENCIES Federal Emergency Management Agency National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Science Foundation

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INVITATION FOR DISCUSSION Materials presented in Natural Disaster Studies often contain observations and statements that inspire debate. Readers interested in contributing to the discussion surrounding any topic contained in the journal may do so in the form of a letter to the editor. Letters will be reviewed by the editorial board, and if considered appropriate, printed in subsequent issues of Natural Disaster Studies.

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COMMITTEE ON NATURAL DISASTERS (1985–1990) NORBERT S. BAER, Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, New York, New York EARL J. BAKER, Department of Geography, Florida State University, Tallahassee ARTHUR N. L. CHIU, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu HANNA J. CORTNER, Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona, Tucson ROBERT G. DEAN, Department of Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville JOHN A. DRACUP, Civil Engineering Department, University of California, Los Angeles DANNY L. FREAD, National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland PETER GERGELY, Department of Structural Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York JOSEPH H. GOLDEN, Chief Scientist Office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, D.C. WILFRED D. IWAN, Department of Earthquake Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena AHSAN KAREEM, Civil Engineering Department, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana T. WILLIAM LAMBE, Consultant, Longboat Key, Florida KISHOR C. MEHTA, Institute for Disaster Research, Texas Tech University, Lubbock DENNIS S. MILETI, Department of Sociology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins JAMES K. MITCHELL, Department of Geography, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey JOSEPH PENZIEN, Department of Civil Engineering, University of California, Berkeley DALE C. PERRY, Department of Construction Science, College of Architecture, Texas A&M University, College Station WILLIAM J. PETAK, Institute of Safety and Systems Management, University of Southern California, Los Angeles LESLIE E. ROBERTSON, Leslie E. Robertson & Associates, New York, New York ROBERT L. SCHUSTER, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado METE A. SOZEN, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana

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RANDALL G. UPDIKE, Office of Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Engineering, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia Staff RILEY M. CHUNG, Director EDWARD LIPP, Editor SUSAN R. McCUTCHEN, Administrative Assistant GREGORY A. MOCK, Editor SHIRLEY J. WHITLEY, Project Assistant Liaison Representatives WILLIAM A. ANDERSON, Earthquake Systems Integration, Division of Biological and Critical Systems, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C. BRUCE A. BAUGHMAN, Hazard Mitigation Branch, Public Assistance Division, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, D.C. FRED COLE, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. ROBERT D. GALE (deceased), U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, D.C. EDWARD M. GROSS, Constituent Affairs and Industrial Meteorology Staff, National Weather Service, Silver Spring, Maryland RICHARD J. HEUWINKEL, Office of Policy and Planning, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, D.C. WILLIAM HOOKE, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, D.C. PAUL KRUMPE, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. J. E. SABADELL, Division of Biological and Critical Systems, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C. ALAN SWAN, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. GERALD F. WIECZOREK, Office of Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Engineering, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia ARTHUR J. ZEIZEL, Office of Natural and Technological Hazards Programs, State and Local Programs and Support, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, D.C. LAWRENCE W. ZENSINGER (alternate), Office of Disaster Assistance Programs, State and Local Programs and Support, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, D.C.

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Acknowledgments We are indebted to many people and organizations in the Republic of Colombia, who graciously allowed us to interrupt their schedules to facilitate our field work. Of major importance to the success of our effort was the information and assistance provided by the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Geológico-Mineras (INGEOMINAS), whose director, Alfonso Lopez Reyna, hosted our team and provided it access to agency personnel, documents, and disaster sites. In particular, Francisco Zambrano Ortiz, Technical Director of INGEOMINAS, coordinated our contacts with agency personnel familiar with the events surrounding the eruption of Nevado del Ruiz; Pablo Caro and Carlos Ulloa, INGEOMINAS geologists, accompanied our team in the field and assisted in the completion of its geotechnical reconnaissance; and Dario Mosquera of INGEOMINAS facilitated the social science aspects of the team’s work by providing contacts with other agencies and organizations. Several Colombian agencies were particularly helpful in providing us information, and, in many instances, personally guided us around the Armero disaster area. General Guillermo de la Cruz Amaya, the Director of the Colombian Civil Defense organization, granted us a protracted and informative interview and also extended the services of regional and local civil defense personnel to assist us in our information gathering. Among these was Colonel Rafael Perdomo Silva, who provided the social scientist members of the team their initial tour of the Armero site and the nearby refugee camps, and recounted the events surrounding the warning and emergency activities in the weeks around the eruption day. Civil defense authorities in Mariquita and Honda also assisted by arranging visits with various local officials and refugee camp personnel near the disaster site. Among the local officials, the mayor of Honda and her staff provided

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many interesting insights into impacts to communities beyond Armero. Both staff members and disaster survivors at the camps spoke willingly and candidly about their experiences with the prolonged temporary housing situation. The social scientists appreciated speaking with several local Red Cross officials, staff, and volunteers at the camps. The social scientists on the team would also like to thank Diego Silva and German Naranjo of the Red Cross, who accompanied them to the disaster sites, for their invaluable guidance and insights. For three full days, these young men tirelessly fielded questions and related their firsthand experiences, thereby greatly enhancing our understanding of this disaster and the plight of its victims.

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Preface On November 13, 1985, catastrophic mudflows swept down the slopes of the erupting Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia, South America, destroying structures in their paths. Various estimates of deaths ranged as high as 24,000 area residents. Though the nature and extent of risk posed by the mudflows to local communities was well documented and extensive efforts had been made to communicate this information to those at risk, the affected communities were caught largely unaware by the mudflows. These events prompted the Committee on Natural Disasters, a standing committee of the National Research Council, to send an interdisciplinary research team to Colombia following the disaster. The study team’s mission was to analyze the disaster’s many aspects, specifically, the extent, constitution, and behavior of the mudflows; the nature of damage to structures; the status of the area’s disaster warning system; and the extent of the area’s disaster preparedness, emergency response actions, and disaster relief efforts— both at the time of the disaster and in the first few months following the event. The study team’s field observations and its recommendations for improving the existing warning system were made in January and February 1986 (see Appendix B ). Chapter 1 , Chapter 2 through Chapter 3 of the present volume contain the study team’s geological and geotechnical observations. They describe the physical setting, the volcano’s geologic history, and the main characteristics of the 1985 mudflows, including areal extent and estimated flow velocities. Also described are the performance of structures located within or near the vicinity of the flows. Chapter 4 , Chapter 5 , Chapter 6 , Chapter 7 through Chapter 8 describe preeruption awareness and emergency preparedness, disaster warnings given for the 1985 eruption, disaster impacts, disaster recovery, and posteruption preparedness for another disaster.

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The primary purpose of this report was to compile the data that are considered perishable—the data that would be lost over a short period of time due to the recovery effort and other natural processes. The observations recorded here extend only through the study period—the first few months of 1986; they do not include events that have transpired since that date. The reader should be aware of the substantial body of additional literature available on the Ruiz disaster and the preceding events. In cooperation with the Colombian government, and, more specifically, the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Geológico-Mineras (INGEOMINAS), scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), United Nations Disaster Relief Office (UNDRO), University of Rhode Island, Georgia State University, Louisiana State University, Dartmouth College, University of Madrid, Canadian Department of Energy, Mines, and Resources, National Volcanological Group of Italy, and University of Grenoble have also conducted detailed studies on various aspects of the volcanic eruptions and the resultant disaster. It is hoped that the present volume will provide a useful summary of disaster events and issues to those wishing to learn from the tragic experience of Ruiz area residents.

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Contents 1   PHYSICAL SETTING AND GEOLOGIC HISTORY   5     Site Location,   5     Morphology and Physical Environment,   5     Historic Eruptions and Lahars in the Ruiz Area,   9 2   THE NOVEMBER 13, 1985 ERUPTION AND SUBSEQUENT LAHARS   12     Chronology of Volcanic Events,   12     Suggested Lahar-Triggering Mechanism,   14     Areal Extent and Gradient,   16     Velocity of Lahars,   22     Composition of the Lahar Deposits,   23     Thickness of Lahar Deposits,   28     Consolidation of Lahar Deposits,   37 3   PERFORMANCE OF VARIOUS STRUCTURES ALONG THE LAHAR PATHS   43 4   PREERUPTION AWARENESS AND PREPAREDNESS,   49     Historical Eruptions and Experience,   49     Initial Threat Detection,   50     Efforts to Increase Awareness,   51     Conclusions,   57 5   THE WARNING PERIOD   58     3:00-5:00 p.m., November 13,   60     5:00-7:00 p.m., November 13,   60

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    7:00-9:00 p.m., November 13,   60     9:00-11:00 p.m., November 13,   61     11:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m., November 13-14,   62     Summary and Conclusions,   63     Notes,   64 6   DISASTER IMPACTS   65     Immediate Postimpact Activities,   65     Restoration Activities,   67     Long-Term Impacts,   68     Notes,   69 7   THE RECOVERY PROGRAM   70     Organization of the Recovery Activities,   70     Provision of Temporary Housing,   71     Reconstruction/Relocation,   75     Special Issues,   76     Conclusions,   78 8   POSTERUPTION HAZARD WATCH AND DISASTER PLANNING   79     Risk and Risk Information,   79     Emergency Planning for Warning and Evacuation,   80     Public Education,   82     Public Response to Hazard Warnings,   82     Comments,   85     REFERENCES   87     APPENDIXES   91 A:   Geologic Setting and Prehistoric Volcanic Activities,   91 B:   Recommendations for Improving the Existing Warning System for an Impending Eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz Volcano, Columbia, South America: An Advance Report, January/February 1986   97

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The Nevado del Ruiz Volcano Colombia, South America November 13, 1985

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