Report on Villarrica (Chile) — 11 January-17 January 2023
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
11 January-17 January 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Villarrica (Chile). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 January-17 January 2023. 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 the eruption at Villarrica was ongoing during 11-17 January. Strombolian explosions and lava fountaining from the vent on the crater floor were frequently visible in webcam images. Explosions during 11-12 January ejected material 80 m high and as far as 250 m onto the NE flank. The number of explosions increased during 14-15 January, some ejecting material up to 150 m above the crater rim. POVI scientists counted about 70 instances of lava fountaining from 2130 on 14 January to 0600 on 15 January. Material ejected by the explosions stayed within or near the crater during 16-17 January. The Alert Level remained at Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale). 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.