Report on Villarrica (Chile) — 2 February-8 February 2022
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
2 February-8 February 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2022. Report on Villarrica (Chile). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 2 February-8 February 2022. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The Buenos Aires VAAC reported that an ash plume from Villarrica rose 2.7-4.6 km (9,000-15,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E at 1050 on 2 February based on webcam images and information from SERNAGEOMIN. By 1130 the ash plume was barely visible in satellite images. Webcam images showed continuous emissions of gas with sporadic puffs of ash that rose as high as 4.9 km (16,000 ft) a.s.l. The puffs of ash were diffuse by 1730, and by 2330 no emissions were visible in webcam and satellite images.
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.