Report on Villarrica (Chile) — 22 March-28 March 2023
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
22 March-28 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, 22 March-28 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)
The eruption at Villarrica was ongoing during 21-28 March. POVI reported that on 21 March Strombolian explosions ejected material 100 m above the crater rim. SERNAGEOMIN reported that at 0551 on 24 March a long-period earthquake was associated with low-intensity crater incandescence. According to POVI a cone with a vent that was about 13 m in diameter had formed on the crater floor and was visible during a recent overflight. Sometimes lava fountains rose over 100 m. At 2249 on 26 March Strombolian explosions ejected incandescent material more than 110 m above the crater rim. 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)