Report on Villarrica (Chile) — 8 February-14 February 2023
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
8 February-14 February 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, 8 February-14 February 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The eruption at Villarrica was ongoing during 6-12 February. POVI reported that three explosions were heard during 1940-1942 on 6 February, and then hours later spatter was seen rising 30 m above the crater rim. On 9 February lava fountains were seen rising around 50 m above the crater rim. SERNAGEOMIN noted that in the early part of the week small Strombolian explosions and gas emissions were recorded and observed in webcam images. A period of increased seismicity was recorded on 12 February, after several weeks of stable levels. The seismicity and recent visual observations (especially ash emissions observed on 27 January) indicated that activity was localized at shallow levels, without a clear indication of deep magmatic contribution. 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.
Sources: Oficina Nacional de Emergencia-Ministerio del Interior (ONEMI), Proyecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI), Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)