Report on Chaiten (Chile) — 17 September-23 September 2008
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 September-23 September 2008
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Chaiten (Chile) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 September-23 September 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
42.8349°S, 72.6514°W; summit elev. 1122 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 8-22 September two eruption columns from Chaitén rose to altitudes of 2.1-3.1 km (6,900-10,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N and NE. The plume emitted from an area to the S contained more ash than the predominantly steam plume emitted from an area to the N. The Volcanic Alert level remained at Red.
Based on web camera views, pilot observations, analysis of satellite imagery, and SIGMET reports, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 17-22 September continuous ash plumes rose to altitudes of 1.8-3.7 km (6,000-12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted WNW, N, ENE, E, and ESE. A thermal anomaly over the lava dome was detected by satellite imagery during 20-22 September.
Geological Summary. Chaitén is a small caldera (~3 km in diameter) located 10 km NE of the town of Chaitén on the Gulf of Corcovado. Multiple explosive eruptions throughout the Holocene have been identified. A rhyolitic obsidian lava dome occupies much of the caldera floor. Obsidian cobbles from this dome found in the Blanco River are the source of artifacts from archaeological sites along the Pacific coast as far as 400 km from the volcano to the N and S. The caldera is breached on the SW side by a river that drains to the bay of Chaitén. The first recorded eruption, beginning in 2008, produced major rhyolitic explosive activity and building a new dome and tephra cone on the older rhyolite dome.