Report on Villarrica (Chile) — 15 March-21 March 2023
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
15 March-21 March 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, 15 March-21 March 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Villarrica continued to erupt during 15-21 March. POVI posted a webcam image from 2227 on 18 March showing incandescent material from Strombolian explosions rising more than 100 m above the crater rim. Explosions were heard up to 8 km away. According to SERNAGEOMIN a long-period earthquake recorded at 1921 on 19 March was accompanied by a plume containing tephra that rose to 340 m above the crater rim and dispersed NE. A webcam image from a few hours later, at 2219, showed plumes rising from the crater and incandescence. The Volcanic Alert level remained at Yellow (the second highest on a four-level scale) according to SERNAGEOMIN. SENAPRED maintained the Alert Level at Yellow (the middle level on a three-color scale) for the communities of Villarrica, Pucón (16 km N), Curarrehue, and Panguipulli, and SINAPRED maintained an exclusion zone of 1 km from the crater.
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), Proyecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI), Sistema y Servicio Nacional de Prevención y Repuesta Ante Desastres (SENAPRED)