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Report on Puyehue-Cordon Caulle (Chile) — 27 July-2 August 2011

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 July-2 August 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on Puyehue-Cordon Caulle (Chile). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 July-2 August 2011. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (27 July-2 August 2011)

Puyehue-Cordon Caulle


40.59°S, 72.117°W; summit elev. 2236 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During 25 July-1 August, OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that the eruption from the Cordón Caulle rift zone, part of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex, continued and seismicity indicated that the lava flow remained active. Cloud cover prevented observations by a video camera on 25 July, though satellite imagery detected a plume that drifted 200 km SE. On 26 July the camera recorded a plume that rose 2 km above the crater and incandescence up to 500 m above the crater was observed at night. Satellite imagery showed a plume drifting 100 km SE. Cloud cover again prevented camera observations during 27-28 July, but on 28 July a 150-km-long plume was observed in satellite imagery drifting SE. During 29-31 July plumes rose 2-5 km above the crater and satellite imagery showed plumes drifting 80-400 km SW, N, and NE. Incandescence was observed up to 300 m above the crater at night during 29-30 July. Cloud cover prevented observations on 1 August. The Alert Level remained at Red.

Geologic Background. The Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex (PCCVC) is a large NW-SE-trending late-Pleistocene to Holocene basaltic-to-rhyolitic transverse volcanic chain SE of Lago Ranco. The 1799-m-high Pleistocene Cordillera Nevada caldera lies at the NW end, separated from Puyehue stratovolcano at the SE end by the Cordón Caulle fissure complex. The Pleistocene Mencheca volcano with Holocene flank cones lies NE of Puyehue. The basaltic-to-rhyolitic Puyehue volcano is the most geochemically diverse of the PCCVC. The flat-topped, 2236-m-high volcano was constructed above a 5-km-wide caldera and is capped by a 2.4-km-wide Holocene summit caldera. Lava flows and domes of mostly rhyolitic composition are found on the E flank. Historical eruptions originally attributed to Puyehue, including major eruptions in 1921-22 and 1960, are now known to be from the Cordón Caulle rift zone. The Cordón Caulle geothermal area, occupying a 6 x 13 km wide volcano-tectonic depression, is the largest active geothermal area of the southern Andes volcanic zone.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)