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Latest reports on Descabezado Grande: ‘minor eruptive activity’ not ruled out 29 April 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chile, Descabezado Grande.
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Descabezado Grande, 28 April 2009 (SERNAGEOMIN)Further to today’s excitement over a supposed eruption at Chile’s Descabezado Grande volcano, both SERNAGEOMIN (state geological service) and ONEMI (state emergencies office) have released statements on the matter. Interestingly, both agencies suggest that minor eruptive activity at Descabezado Grande can not be ruled out.

First, SERNAGEOMIN reports receiving information that fumaroles had been observed in the northern sector of Descabezado Grande volcano at various times of the day on 28 April 2009. Furthermore, photographs taken from Armerillo, 33 kilometres south-west of the volcano, show fine, light-brown particulate matter ascending from the north-east flank, in the area of an 850-metre diameter crater which was a seat of activity in 1846-7 and 1932. SERNAGEOMIN concludes that this might be the result of ‘gravitational removal’ of material from the slopes of the crater, but that ‘minor eruptive activity cannot be ruled out’.

The ONEMI bulletin, meanwhile, notes that SERNAGEOMIN ‘does not rule out minor eruptive activity … but the cause may be gravitational removal’, but goes on to observe that ‘because of the persistence of the phenomenon the first hypothesis is favoured’, i.e. eruptive activity. The bulletin goes on to report that ‘ONEMI personnel on the ground found, on the north-west flank of Descabezado Grande volcano, an emanation of material in a column of approximately 600 metres height, of white colour, visible from the Armerillo area’. That certainly doesn’t sound like a product of gravitational removal. A ‘much weaker column’ was observed in the same area today.

It looks as though the reports of local eye-witnesses have been vindicated, and that some kind of weak fumarolic activity may be occurring at Descabezado Grande after all. If any more news emerges it will be reported here.

Global Volcanism Program: Descabezado Grande – summary information for Descabezado Grande (1507-05=)
Oficina Nacional de Emergencia – Chilean government emergencies office
SERNAGEOMIN – Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería, Chile

The Volcanism Blog