Report on Nevados de Chillan (Chile) — 11 July-17 July 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 July-17 July 2018
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2018. Report on Nevados de Chillan (Chile). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 July-17 July 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
Nevados de Chillan
36.868°S, 71.378°W; summit elev. 3180 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Servicio Nacional de Geología and Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS) reported continuing activity during 11-17 July associated with growth of the Gil-Cruz lava dome in Nevados de Chillán’s Nicanor Crater. Seismicity consisted of long-period events and tremor associated with explosions. The webcam recorded pulsating white gas emissions, nighttime incandescence, and intermittent ejection of ballistics from explosions. A local M3.7 earthquake recorded at 2055 on 13 July was associated with an explosion, and located 430 m below Nicanor Crater. Another earthquake associated with an explosion was recorded at 1530 on 14 July. The event was a local M3.9 and occurred at a depth of 1.4 km. Weather conditions inhibited visual observations of the crater, though a thermal camera measured increased thermal output with a max temperaturs of 300 degrees Celsius. A third earthquake, a M3.8 located at a depth of 1.8 km, was recorded at 0324 on 15 July. Incandescent material was ejected 340 m high. These three explosions partially destroyed the lava dome, ejecting material onto the N and NE flank. The Alert Level remained at Orange, the second highest level on a four-color scale, and residents were reminded not to approach the crater within 3 km. ONEMI maintained an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-color scale) for the communities of Pinto, Coihueco, and San Fabián.
Geologic Background. The compound volcano of Nevados de Chillán is one of the most active of the Central Andes. Three late-Pleistocene to Holocene stratovolcanoes were constructed along a NNW-SSE line within three nested Pleistocene calderas, which produced ignimbrite sheets extending more than 100 km into the Central Depression of Chile. The largest stratovolcano, dominantly andesitic, Cerro Blanco (Volcán Nevado), is located at the NW end of the group. Volcán Viejo (Volcán Chillán), which was the main active vent during the 17th-19th centuries, occupies the SE end. The new Volcán Nuevo lava-dome complex formed between 1906 and 1945 between the two volcanoes and grew to exceed Volcán Viejo in elevation. The Volcán Arrau dome complex was constructed SE of Volcán Nuevo between 1973 and 1986 and eventually exceeded its height.