Report on Copahue (Chile-Argentina) — 14 December-20 December 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 December-20 December 2016
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Copahue (Chile-Argentina). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 December-20 December 2016. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
37.856°S, 71.183°W; summit elev. 2953 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
According to ONEMI, OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that during the first two weeks of December activity at Copahue continued to be dominated by weak Strombolian explosions, likely from a pyroclastic cone forming on the floor of El Agrio crater. The Alert Level remained at Yellow (second highest level on a four-color scale); SERNAGEOMIN recommended no entry into a restricted area within 1.5 km of the crater. ONEMI maintained an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-color scale) for the municipality of Alto Biobío.
Based on satellite and webcam images, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 13-20 December gas-and-ash plumes from Copahue rose to altitudes of 3-3.9 km (10,000-13,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, ENE, E, and SE.
Geologic Background. Volcán Copahue is an elongated composite cone constructed along the Chile-Argentina border within the 6.5 x 8.5 km wide Trapa-Trapa caldera that formed between 0.6 and 0.4 million years ago near the NW margin of the 20 x 15 km Pliocene Caviahue (Del Agrio) caldera. The eastern summit crater, part of a 2-km-long, ENE-WSW line of nine craters, contains a briny, acidic 300-m-wide crater lake (also referred to as El Agrio or Del Agrio) and displays intense fumarolic activity. Acidic hot springs occur below the eastern outlet of the crater lake, contributing to the acidity of the Río Agrio, and another geothermal zone is located within Caviahue caldera about 7 km NE of the summit. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions from the crater lake have ejected pyroclastic rocks and chilled liquid sulfur fragments.