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Resurgence at Chaitén 19 February 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chaitén, Chile, eruptions.
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There was a major reactivation of the eruption at Chaitén volcano this morning. Everyone still in the town of Chaitén was evacuated, and the authorities have activated their various emergency plans. This was the picture captured by the north-facing camera at Chaitén airfield at 11:44…

Chaiten 19 Feb 2009, 11.44

The page for the Chaitén cameras is best accessed via the main DGAC airfield webcam page (warning, it’s rather cranky today). There’s also a live camera feed here – thanks to reader Brian Owens for the reminder. And Dr Erik Klemetti is also covering this event over at the Eruptions blog – check out what he has to say here.

An Associated Press report quotes Presidential Delegate Paula Narváez as saying that the volcano’s dome has been rocked by a major explosion, sending debris down the volcano’s slopes and threatening to block a river with debris and cause flooding. The Patagonia Times reports that the eruption began at around 11:30 and quotes an El Mercurio report that a partial dome collapse took place. About 140-160 people have been evacuated from Chaitén town.

Reuters has further details, quoting Deputy Interior Minister Patricio Rosende: ‘There has been a significant resumption of activity of Chaiten volcano. Our security team have observed an increase in the size of a column of ash and smoke, with a deformation to one side’. An unnamed ONEMI official expresses the exasperation many in Chile must feel at the fact that some Chaitén diehards insisted on defying the government and the emergency services and returning to their homes: ‘We have repeatedly said that there is a red alert and that people should not be there, and if that had been respected, then police would not be evacuating people’.

More on this, and more pictures, as things develop.

For all our Chaitén coverage: Chaitén « The Volcanism Blog.

News
Chaiten volcano erupts again in southern Chile – Associated Press, 19 February 2009
New eruption for Chile’s ChaitenPatagonia Times, 19 February 2009
Chile’s Chaiten volcano spewing ash again – Reuters, 19 February 2009

Information
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

The Volcanism Blog

Comments

1. Ron de Haan - 19 February 2009

Please check grammer:
“Everyone still in the town of Chaitén was erupted”
erupted = evacuated?

2. Boris Behncke - 19 February 2009

What we see in the webcam image is clearly the nose of a pyroclastic flow … the amazing thing is that it has travelled quite close to the town. It seems that there has been a large dome collapse event, so it would not be exactly accurate to speak of a new eruption or reactivation, fact is that it has been active all the time, even though at fluctuating rates. Later web cam images (at 19 h GMT on 19 February) show a fresh, fuming pyroclastic flow deposit in the gorge through which the flow travelled. Looking at this, maybe those who were sceptic about the decision to relocate the town of Chaitén permanently will understand …

3. volcanism - 19 February 2009

Thanks for the correction, Ron.

I agree, Boris – it seems to me that things are happening south of the caldera, in the valley leading towards the town. This looks like a sizeable collapse event, not a revival in the eruption itself.

4. Rob Croese - 19 February 2009

I was in Chaitén about a month ago by motorcycle. There was a constant plume of smoke or vapor (I am not an expert) above the volcano. There were a few locals in town – one elderly lady, running her cleaned-up hotel, another running a rudimentary grocery store, etc. More locals were arriving by ferry the day we took the ferry to Quellón, Chiloé.

I took a number of pictures of the impressive devastation of the town of Chaitén and have been wondering if I should make any of these pictures available or whether there are already plenty on the web (but I have not found them).

Thanks for the great blog, which I will certainly monitor.

5. Ross - 19 February 2009

More activity seems to be happening. Looks like there may be pyroclastic flows heading in multiple directions as of the 17:32 webcam shot. The base of the plume looks much wider then I’ve seen since last May.

6. Boris Behncke - 19 February 2009

Right – the Chaitén webcam definitely is the one to look at tonight. Pyroclastic flows continue to appear in the valley in the center of the image.
The live feed by Teletrece is interesting, too, because that seems to be a direct look on the dome and we see quite intense explosive activity here (as of 20.50 h GMT).


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