Report on Villarrica (Chile) — 15 May-21 May 2019
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 May-21 May 2019
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2019. Report on Villarrica (Chile). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 May-21 May 2019. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
POVI reported continuing activity at Villarrica during 5-6 May when Strombolian explosions ejected lava 50 m above the crater rim. On 14 May the webcam recorded 24-m-wide lava fountains rising as high as 70 m. An explosion later that day at 2220 ejected a mushroom-shaped fountain 70 m high. POVI noted it was one of the largest lava explosions since 2015.
Geologic Background. Glacier-clad Villarrica, one of Chile's most active volcanoes, rises above the lake and town of the same name. It is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes that trend perpendicular to the Andean chain. A 6-km-wide caldera formed during the late Pleistocene. A 2-km-wide caldera that formed about 3500 years ago is located at the base of the presently active, dominantly basaltic to basaltic-andesitic cone at the NW margin of the Pleistocene caldera. More than 30 scoria cones and fissure vents dot 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. Historical eruptions, documented since 1558, 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.