Report on Villarrica (Chile) — 21 December-27 December 2022
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
21 December-27 December 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, 21 December-27 December 2022. 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 at 0845 on 24 December a volcano-tectonic earthquake at Villarrica was followed by increased Strombolian activity. Explosions ejected material generally to heights of less than 100 m, though one explosion ejected incandescent tephra as far as 400 m onto the SW flank. According to POVI, there were 11 ejections of incandescent ballistics that impacted the upper SW flank between 2225 on 25 December to 0519 on 26 December. The Alert Level remained at Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale) and the public was warned that material could be ejected within 500 m of the crater. ONEMI maintained the Alert Level at Yellow (the middle level on a three-color scale) for the municipalities of Villarrica, Pucón (16 km N), Curarrehue, and the commune of Panguipulli.
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.
Sources: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Oficina Nacional de Emergencia-Ministerio del Interior (ONEMI), Proyecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI)