Report on Villarrica (Chile) — 21 April-27 April 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
21 April-27 April 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Villarrica (Chile). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 April-27 April 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 1-15 April gas-and-steam emissions with no or very small amounts of ash rose from Villarrica to heights less than 1.2 km above the crater rim. Crater incandescence was not visible at night and sulfur dioxide emissions were low. Observations from multiple sources suggested that the lava lake level was lower, decreasing the likelihood that material ejected by minor explosions would reach beyond 100 m from the crater. The Alert Level was lowered to Green on 23 April, the lowest level on a four-color scale. ONEMI declared a “Preventative Early Warning” for the municipalities of Villarrica, Pucón (16 km N), Curarrehue, and the commune of Panguipulli, and the exclusion zone for the public of 100 m around the crater.
Geological Summary. 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.