Galeras is a stratovolcano that is located in Nariño, a Colombian controlled territory. This volcano, which reaches a height of 14,029 feet, is highly active and the most active volcano in Colombia. It primarily contains andesite and holds two calderas that were created by eruptions in the past 560,000 years. Although it is shaped like a horseshoe, eruptions have caused a cone shaped structure to build up in one of the calderas. It was labeled a Decade Volcano in 1991, despite its recent activity, and was made a point of study by the United Nations’ International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.

In 1993, a scientific study team took a surprise hike to the crater on Galeras, but an unexpected eruption occurred that killed six people, although four others including tourists did survive. A predication was made that this eruption would occur, but there was not enough evidence to stop the group from traveling to the summit. Despite this eruption, and many other small ones that have covered nearby cities in ash, the volcano is a popular place of study for scientists.

Galeras has had many eruptions in the twenty first century, but because it has been so well studied, many of the eruptions have been successfully predicted. These include the 2002 and 2005 eruptions, which caused little damage, and the eruption in 2006, which caused pyroclastic flows and rock falls that affected towns as far as seven miles away. These eruptions and many others have caused multiple evacuations and some damage to the cities around the volcano, causing the Colombian government to begin preparations for a possible permanent relocation for affected citizens.

Image Caption: Volcán Galeras – Pasto – Colombia. Credit: Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)