Report on Villarrica (Chile) — 18 January-24 January 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 January-24 January 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Villarrica (Chile) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 January-24 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 17-24 January. Daily minor Strombolian explosions from a vent on the crater floor ejected incandescent material that generally rose as high as 100 m above the crater rim and fell back down in and around the crater. On 19 January POVI noted that lava was ejected as high as 140 m above the crater rim and onto the W and SW flanks. Explosion noises were heard on 19 and 22 January in areas within a radius of 10 km. 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. The glacier-covered Villarrica stratovolcano, in the northern Lakes District of central Chile, is ~15 km south of the city of Pucon. A 2-km-wide caldera that formed about 3,500 years ago is located at the base of the presently active, dominantly basaltic to basaltic-andesite cone at the NW margin of a 6-km-wide Pleistocene caldera. More than 30 scoria cones and fissure vents are present on 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. Eruptions documented since 1558 CE 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.