Report on Villarrica (Chile) — 4 October-10 October 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 October-10 October 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, 4 October-10 October 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
39.42°S, 71.93°W; summit elev. 2847 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 6 October SERNAGEOMIN lowered the Volcanic Alert Level for Villarrica to Yellow (the second level on a four-level scale), noting that activity had returned to moderate and more stable levels during the previous few days. The frequency and intensity of emissions had declined; gas emissions rose to low heights and sometimes contained small amounts of tephra. Nighttime crater incandescence was observed, and Strombolian explosions ejected material onto the upper flanks. The public was warned to stay at least 2 km away from the crater. 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.
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.