Report on Copahue (Chile-Argentina) — 11 September-17 September 2019
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 September-17 September 2019
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2019. Report on Copahue (Chile-Argentina). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 September-17 September 2019. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
37.856°S, 71.183°W; summit elev. 2953 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that a long-period (LP) earthquake at Copahue recorded at 1657 on 11 September correlated with an infrasound signal from an explosion; a gas-and-ash emission rose to low heights. A larger explosion, recorded at 2245 along with an LP earthquake, produced a plume that rose 250 m above the crater rim. Incandescent deposits around the vent were visible at night, and a 3-km-long ash deposit, covering an area of 3.4 square kilometers, was visible on the ESE flank. The Alert Level remained at Yellow (second lowest level on a four-color scale); SERNAGEOMIN recommended no entry into a restricted area within 500 m of the crater. ONEMI maintained the Alert Level at Yellow (the middle level on a three-color scale) for the municipality of Alto Biobío.
Geologic Background. Volcán Copahue is an elongated composite cone constructed along the Chile-Argentina border within the 6.5 x 8.5 km wide Trapa-Trapa caldera that formed between 0.6 and 0.4 million years ago near the NW margin of the 20 x 15 km Pliocene Caviahue (Del Agrio) caldera. The eastern summit crater, part of a 2-km-long, ENE-WSW line of nine craters, contains a briny, acidic 300-m-wide crater lake (also referred to as El Agrio or Del Agrio) and displays intense fumarolic activity. Acidic hot springs occur below the eastern outlet of the crater lake, contributing to the acidity of the Río Agrio, and another geothermal zone is located within Caviahue caldera about 7 km NE of the summit. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions from the crater lake have ejected pyroclastic rocks and chilled liquid sulfur fragments.