Report on Villarrica (Chile) — 15 February-21 February 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 February-21 February 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Villarrica (Chile) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 February-21 February 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The eruption at Villarrica was ongoing during 15-21 February. POVI reported that on 17 February Strombolian explosions ejected material 100 m above the crater rim and onto the upper SW flank. Webcam images on 20 February showed two separate fountains of incandescent material, suggesting that a second vent had opened to the E of the first vent. Spatter was ejected as high as 80 m above the crater rim and onto the upper NE flank. A sequence of Strombolian explosions were visible from 2030 on 20 February to 0630 on 21 February. Material was ejected as high as 80 m above the crater rim and onto the upper E flank. The Alert Level remained at Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale) according to SERNAGEOMIN. ONEMI maintained the Alert Level at Yellow (the middle level on a three-color scale) for the municipalities of Villarrica, Pucón (16 km N), Curarrehue, and the commune of Panguipulli.
Geological Summary. The glacier-covered Villarrica stratovolcano, in the northern Lakes District of central Chile, is ~15 km south of the city of Pucon. A 2-km-wide caldera that formed about 3,500 years ago is located at the base of the presently active, dominantly basaltic to basaltic-andesite cone at the NW margin of a 6-km-wide Pleistocene caldera. More than 30 scoria cones and fissure vents are present on the flanks. Plinian eruptions and pyroclastic flows that have extended up to 20 km from the volcano were produced during the Holocene. Lava flows up to 18 km long have issued from summit and flank vents. Eruptions documented since 1558 CE have consisted largely of mild-to-moderate explosive activity with occasional lava effusion. Glaciers cover 40 km2 of the volcano, and lahars have damaged towns on its flanks.