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Llaima eruption – pictures and report from POVI 4 April 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chile, eruptions, Llaima, volcano monitoring.
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The best place to go for information about activity at Llaima volcano in Chile is the website of POVI, Proyecto Observación Visual Volcán Llaima. Our friends at POVI have sent in two images of the current eruption, one taken at 01:23 local time, the other at 06:57 local time.

Llaima, 4 April 2009 01:23 (POVI)
Llaima volcano, 4 April 2009, 01:23 local time. Incandescence at the crater. (Image copyright POVI.)

Llaima, 4 April 2009 06:57 (POVI)
Llaima volcano, 4 April 2009, 06:57 local time. Strombolian activity. (Image copyright POVI.)

We are very grateful for the opportunity to reproduce these exclusive images, which are copyright POVI.

Werner Keller of POVI reports that following the last eruptive activity at Llaima (sporadic ash emissions and a few strombolian explosions) between 22 December 2008 and 6 January 2009 there was a total absence of fumarolic activity. Two ASTER thermal  images from 20 February and 1 March 2009 showed no thermal areas on the summit. On 8 March and 24 March 2009, however, ASTER images showed again a notable increase in thermal activity.

On 1 April 2009, shortly before sunrise,  one of POVI’s time lapse cameras captured weak incandescence coming from within one of the nested cones in the main crater. Later that day, starting from 09:22 local time,  a fumarolic emission towards the east, rich in water vapour, was seen for the first time since 6 January 2009. The Chilean authorities were warned immediately about this change.

On 3 April at 21:05 local time, long-lasting cloud cover decreased and incandescence was observed at the summit. Later a moderate strombolian eruption was confirmed by local government officials. At 05:10 GMT (01:10 local time) the Aqua satellite crossed the area and the Modis instrument detected four hot spots. Later, at 06:50 GMT, when visual conditions were better, Aqua Modis detected nine hot spots.

This is the second time that the detection by POVI’s time-lapse cameras of a reactivation of fumarolic emission has proved to be a valid precursor of imminent eruption.

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

Global Volcanism Program: Llaima – summary information for Llaima (1507-11=)
Oficina Nacional de Emergencia – Chilean government emergencies office
SERNAGEOMIN – Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, Chile
Proyecto Observación Visual Volcán Llaima – Llaima Visual Observation Project

The Volcanism Blog


1. Boris Behncke - 4 April 2009

Thanks so much to volcanism for posting this (and everything else), and to POVI for rendering this material available. My impression of what we see in the first of the POVI webcam shots is that this is not mere incandescence, it’s a full scale lava fountain, probably a few hundred meters tall. It’s something that we’ve seen countless times at Etna in recent years, although Llaima seems to have a bit taken over that job because Etna’s slowed down considerably on the lava fountain side, whereas Llaima already produced a series of spectacular episodes in mid-2008, and maybe this will be the start of more such episodes.

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