Report on Villarrica (Chile) — 15 March-21 March 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 March-21 March 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, 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. 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.