Report on Puyehue-Cordon Caulle (Chile) — 22 February-28 February 2012
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 February-28 February 2012
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2012. Report on Puyehue-Cordon Caulle (Chile). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 February-28 February 2012. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
40.59°S, 72.117°W; summit elev. 2236 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Based on seismicity detected during 21-27 February, OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that the eruption from the Cordón Caulle rift zone, part of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex, continued at a low level. SERNAGEOMIN and ONEMI scientists aboard an overflight on 21 February reported that lava reached the valley of the Nilahue River, and two lava flows advanced to the N margin of the W crater. Some areas were covered in pumice and gray ash deposits. During 23-24 February plumes observed with a web camera rose 1 km above the crater; clouds prevented views on 22 and 25-26 February. Satellite images showed ash plumes drifting 60-100 km N and E during 22-23 February. Clouds prevented clear satellite views during 24-26 February. Crater incandescence was observed on 26 February. 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.