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Report on Lonquimay (Chile) — November 1989


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 14, no. 11 (November 1989)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Lonquimay (Chile) Brief tephra emission increase; cone morphology changes

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1989. Report on Lonquimay (Chile) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 14:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198911-357100



38.379°S, 71.586°W; summit elev. 2832 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The following, from J. Naranjo, is based on 2 November observations.

"Since September, Navidad cone's activity has dramatically decreased. On 2 November between 1300 and 1600, a white eruptive column reached 200 m above the crater. A light-gray ash and volcanic gas ejection appeared after weak explosions deep in the uppermost vent.

"The decreasing activity has caused a progressive and conspicuous transformation of the cone structure. The N opening of the formerly horseshoe-shaped cinder cone has been closed by the construction of a 200-m-high northern wall (figure 14). This wall has been built by the closure of the inner W and E 'terraces' nested in the original cone, through bomb and spatter fallback into the inner crater walls. The decreasing explosivity has inhibited the ballistic projection of bombs outside the crater, but has allowed the formation of the nested structure. On 9 July, W. Giggenbach and J.A. Naranjo observed what probably were the initial stages of the present structure; a small upper lava lake and another vent that abruptly opened 80 m below, from which a lava flow was extruded, draining the lake conduit. Thus, a constructive process is invoked, rather than a slumping or collapse of part of any Navidad cone wall for the present cone structure.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 14. Lonquimay's Navidad scoria cone viewed from ~500 m to the N. 3 April 1989 (A): strong explosions and lava fountaining developed in the source vent, launching spatter and ballistically projected bombs, some of which fell outside the crater's N breach. 9 July 1989 (B): Strombolian eruptions splashed lava over the inner crater walls, where most bombs fell. Lava emerged from a new vent that opened 80 m below the lava fountain. 2 November 1989 (C): a 200-m wall, built since August, closed the N breach. Lava was extruded from a vent near the base, while explosions projected bombs that rose <200 m above the crater and fell within it. Courtesy of J. Naranjo.

"Observation of the ~5-m-diameter vent from <10 m distance allowed the effusion rate to be estimated at between 400 and 1,200 m3/hour, illustrating the great decrease in the eruptive cycle, also shown by the successive drainage of the former deep lava channels. A 5-m-high orange-yellowish halo was deposited above the vent, due to chlorine and sulfur gases."

Hugo Moreno reported that on 27 November at 0900, the eruption increased notably, ejecting a cauliflower-shaped dark gray-brown ash column to 4-4.5 km asl (2-2.5 km above the crater). Vigorous activity continued the next day until at least 2000, with a well-defined brownish plume extending SE. Tephra were fine- to coarse-grained angular lithic ash, suggesting more Vulcanian-type activity.

Geological Summary. Lonquimay is a small, flat-topped, symmetrical stratovolcano of late-Pleistocene to dominantly Holocene age immediately SE of Tolguaca volcano. A glacier fills its summit crater and flows down the S flank. It is dominantly andesitic, but basalt and dacite are also found. The prominent NE-SW Cordón Fissural Oriental fissure zone cuts across the entire volcano. A series of NE-flank vents and scoria cones were built along an E-W fissure, some of which have been the source of voluminous lava flows, including those during 1887-90 and 1988-90, that extended out to 10 km.

Information Contacts: J. Naranjo, SERNAGEOMIN, Santiago; H. Moreno, Univ de Chile.