Report on Llaima (Chile) — 9 July-15 July 2008
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 July-15 July 2008
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Llaima (Chile). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 July-15 July 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
38.692°S, 71.729°W; summit elev. 3125 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
A new eruptive phase at Llaima occurred on 10 July following two hours of precursory seismicity. At 1520 a vigorous Strombolian eruption ejected incandescent pyroclastic material from two vents in the main crater to heights of 500 m above the summit, throwing bombs to the E, NE, and S. Lava flows also moved towards the W and S flanks. Explosions were seen from Melipeuco, Cherquenco, El Salto, and El Manzano. Strong activity continued for almost three hours before decreasing. Medium to coarse ash fell in Melipeuco (up to 1.5 mm in diameter). Red glow was seen in the early hours of 11 July, and there was no eruptive column or gas emissions. Poor weather prevented observations the next day.
Geologic Background. Llaima, one of Chile's largest and most active volcanoes, contains two main historically active craters, one at the summit and the other, Pichillaima, to the SE. The massive, dominantly basaltic-to-andesitic, stratovolcano has a volume of 400 km3. A Holocene edifice built primarily of accumulated lava flows was constructed over an 8-km-wide caldera that formed about 13,200 years ago, following the eruption of the 24 km3 Curacautín Ignimbrite. More than 40 scoria cones dot the volcano's flanks. Following the end of an explosive stage about 7200 years ago, construction of the present edifice began, characterized by Strombolian, Hawaiian, and infrequent subplinian eruptions. Frequent moderate explosive eruptions with occasional lava flows have been recorded since the 17th century.