We present the late Holocene eruption history of the poorly known Doña Juana volcanic complex, in SW Colombia, which last erupted in the twentieth century. This represents a case study for potentially active volcanism in the rural Northern Andes, where tropical climate conditions and a fragmented social memory blur the record of dormant volcanoes. We reconstructed the volcanic stratigraphy of the central-summit vent area by integrating new mapping at 1:5000 scale with radiocarbon ages, sedimentology analysis, and historical chronicles. Our results revealed cyclic transitions from lava-dome growth phases and collapse to explosive Vulcanian and possibly subplinian phases. Pyroclastic density currents were generated by dome collapse producing block-and-ash flows or by pyroclastic fountain/column collapse and were rapidly channelized into the deeply incised fluvial valleys around the volcano summit. The pyroclastic density currents were ∼4−10 × 106 m3 in volume and deposited under granular flow− or fluid escape−dominated depositional regimes at high clast concentrations. In places, more dilute upper portions reached a wider areal distribution that affected the inhabited areas on high depositional terraces. The coefficient of friction (ΔH/L) is higher for block-and-ash flows and dense lava−bearing fountain/low-column-collapse pyroclastic density currents compared to pumice-bearing, column-collapse pyroclastic density currents. Associated mass-wasting processes included syneruptive and intereruptive debris flows, with the last one documented in 1936 CE.

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