Pyroclastic Density Currents at Volcán de Colima

  • R. SaucedoEmail author
  • J. L. Macías
  • J. C. Gavilanes-Ruiz
  • M. I. Bursik
  • V. Vargas-Gutiérrez
Part of the Active Volcanoes of the World book series (AVOLCAN)


In the last ~500 years, Volcán de Colima has generated numerous small-volume pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) that have been associated with dome emplacement, either by a partial collapse or by their explosive destruction. Large PDCs were generated by eruption column collapse in 1690, 1818, and 1913. The 1913 eruption generated pyroclastic density currents with maximum runouts of 15 km. The small PDCs that occurred in 1991, 1994, 1998–1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2013–2015 have been extensively videoed and photographed, and their deposits have been widely studied. In this chapter, events that have generated PDCs during the past 200 years are summarized. Special attention is given to the generation of small pyroclastic density currents between 1991 and 2005. We provide new, relevant information regarding the development of eruptive episodes, stratigraphy, textural characteristics, and granulometric-component variations of the deposits, as well as inundation areas, mobility (H/L), volumes, and runouts. New observations allow us to understand the effects of topography, fragmentation processes, and better define some of the volumes, which will improve the understanding of the mechanisms of transport and deposition of these types of pyroclastic density currents.


Volcán de Colima Small volume block-and-ash flow Pyroclastic density current 



We are grateful to Edgar Rojas who always shared his time with us during laboratory work and preparation of figures for this paper. This research was supported by grants from CONACYT-Ciencia Básica (101548 to R. Saucedo), Dirección General de Asuntos del Personal Académico, UNAM (DGAPA-IN116911) to J.L. Macías, and NASA grant NNX12AQ10G to M. Bursik. We are grateful for the constructive comments provided by P. Cole, and S. Charbonnier that improved the ideas stated in this contribution. We also thank the editorial handling of J.C. Komorowski, N, Varley, and Chuck Connor.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Saucedo
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. L. Macías
    • 2
  • J. C. Gavilanes-Ruiz
    • 3
  • M. I. Bursik
    • 4
  • V. Vargas-Gutiérrez
    • 5
  1. 1.Instituto de GeologíaUniversidad Autónoma de San Luis PotosíSan Luis PotosíMexico
  2. 2.Instituto de Geofísica Unidad MoreliaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMoreliaMexico
  3. 3.Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de ColimaColimaMexico
  4. 4.Department of GeologyUniversity of Buffalo, SUNYBuffaloUSA
  5. 5.Posgrado en Ciencias de la Tierra Centro de GeocienciasUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoQuerétaroMexico

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