Chaitén – major dome collapse 19 February 2009Posted by admin in activity reports, Chaitén, Chile, eruptions.
Tags: Chaitén, Chile, South America, volcanic activity reports, volcanic eruptions
Here’s the latest bulletin from the Chilean emergencies office ONEMI on the dramatic events at Chaitén today:
19/02/09 – Overflight at Chaitén volcano
At 15:20 an overflight was carried out at Chaitén volcano, revealing a fracture of more than a kilometre on the dome, southern sector, with evident signs of collapse, which constitutes, in the opinion of the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, SERNAGEOMIN, an important threat to the town [of Chaitén].
Large emissions of gases and pyroclasts were observed. Heavy rains over the volcano could generate substantial floods, causing further damage in the town of Chaitén.
The ONEMI bulletin adds that ‘SERNAGEOMIN experts taking part in this mission, along with ONEMI personnel, have been categorical in saying that no-one should stay in Chaitén’.
There seems little doubt that what occurred today was a major partial dome collapse, generating pyroclastic flows that penetrated a long way south along the Chaitén river valley, almost reaching the town itself. A collapse such as this is a process rather than an event, and further collapses of the structure of the dome(s), along with the release of overpressurized gases, is continuing to generate further debris flows along the length of the valley. Hence the continuing danger to the town of Chaitén referred to by ONEMI in the bulletin above.
For images of the events of today, click on ‘more’ below (20 images total).
The following images come from the north-facing DGAC camera at Chaitén airfield. They cover the period from 11:29 to 13:09 local time.
For all our Chaitén coverage: Chaitén « The Volcanism Blog.
Global Volcanism Program: Chaitén – summary information for Chaitén (1508-41)
SERNAGEOMIN – Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (Spanish)
Erupción del Volcán Chaitén – extensive coverage of the Chaitén eruption