The day of the tragedy in Armero – level 3


Nevado del Ruiz is a volcano in Columbia.

On November 13, 1985, at 9:09 p.m., the volcano erupts. It sends a lot of ash into the atmosphere. The eruption also produces a lot of lava which starts to melt down snow on the top of the volcano. Water from the snow starts to mix with earth and small stones. All of these materials make thick lahars that start to go down the river valleys on the volcano’s sides.

The lahars go down at a speed of 50 kilometers per hour, destroying everything in their way. One of the lahars is going to the town of Armero.

It’s a quiet night and people of Armero are unaware of the coming danger. Many of them are in their houses.

At 11:30 p.m., the first lahar hits. It is followed by the others. They are traveling at about six meters per second. They are up to 30 meters deep. The lahars virtually erase Armero. Three-quarters of its 28,700 inhabitants are killed.

Difficult words: melt down (to change from solid to liquid), lahar (a flow of mud that goes down from a volcano), virtually (practically, completely), erase (to take away from somewhere), quarter (one of four equal parts).

What warning systems were in place to alert residents of Armero to the coming danger of the lahars from Nevado del Ruiz?


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