Report on Copahue (Chile-Argentina) — 25 September-1 October 2019
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 September-1 October 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, 25 September-1 October 2019. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
37.856°S, 71.183°W; summit elev. 2953 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 30 September OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN, ONEMI, and SEGEMAR reported that three long-period (LP) earthquakes with notable magnitudes were located about 5.8 km NE of Copahue’s El Agrio Crater. In addition, abundant LP and volcano-tectonic (VT) signals with relatively lower magnitudes were also located in the same area. Some of the events were felt by residents of Caviahue (10 km E) and Copahue 7 km NE) in Argentina. SERNAGEOMIN raised the Alert Level to Orange (second highest level on a four-color scale) and ONEMI updated the Yellow Alert (the middle level on a three-color scale) for residents, noting a restriction for entering a 5-km radius from El Agrio Crater. The seismic network recorded a local M 3.1 VT earthquake at 2340 on 30 September, and a local M 3.7 VT event at 0628 on 1 October. The report also noted that 14 lower-energy events (largest was M 2.4) were recorded.
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.