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Report on Villarrica (Chile) — 5 August-11 August 2020

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 August-11 August 2020
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2020. Report on Villarrica (Chile). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 August-11 August 2020. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (5 August-11 August 2020)


Villarrica

Chile

39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


POVI reported that small Strombolian explosions at Villarrica were visible in webcam images on 23 July. At 1522 on 7 August a long-period earthquake occurred along with a moderate explosion in the summit crater according to SERNAGEOMIN; a gray ash plume rose to 3.4 km (11,000 ft) a.s.l. (370 m above the vent) and drifted SE. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, the second lowest level on a four-color scale. ONEMI maintained an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-color scale) for the municipalities of Villarrica, Pucón (16 km N), Curarrehue, and the commune of Panguipulli, and the exclusion zone for the public of 500 m around the crater.

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.

Sources: Proyecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI), Oficina Nacional de Emergencia-Ministerio del Interior (ONEMI), Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)