Colombia's killer volcano gets gassy


Residents of the Colombian town of Manizales wear protective masks on May 29, due to the ash cloud spewing from the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, located on the border of the departments of Caldas and Tolima.


J.J. Bonilla

Colombia’s Nevado del Ruiz volcano has been getting rather gassy in the past few days.

On Monday, it shot a plume of ash and gas almost 6,000 feet into the sky, reports the BBC.

The Colombian Geological Service said the volcano could erupt "in a matter of days or weeks,” according to reports by BBC as well as Spanish news wire EFE.

That is a terrifying possibility.

The last time Nevado del Ruiz blew its top was 1985, killing some 25,000 people in the nearby town of Armero in one of the deadliest eruptions of the 20th century.

According to research by San Diego State University, besides the massive death toll of villagers and animals, the disaster had an estimated cost equal to about one-fifth the country's economic output.

Now, amid the spewing gas and ash, residents are wearing protective masks and Colombian authorities have issued an emergency warning, shutting the nearby La Nubia airport as a precaution.

Here's a Google map to locate Nevado del Ruiz.

View Nevado del Ruiz in a larger map