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Emissions observed during Descabezado Grande overflight (also, Cerro Hudson not erupting) 5 May 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Cerro Hudson, Chile, Descabezado Grande.
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Following the recent reports of emissions from the Chilean volcano Descabezado Grande, which were initially dismissed but subsequently linked to possible small-scale eruptive activity, the state emergencies office ONEMI and the geological service SERNAGEOMIN carried out an overflight yesterday to check up on what is going on. ONEMI reports the outcome thus:

At 13:30 today the Director of ONEMI for Maule Region, Julio Castiglione, and a technical team from the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería carried out an overflight of the volcano Descabezado Grande, with the aim of monitoring the mountain because of the sighting of emissions of particulate material during the past week.

It was possible to see the presence of four small fumaroles in the north-eastern flank of the crater created by the eruption of 1932, a fumarole from the western side, and more near Valle de Venado, in a lava deposit from ancient eruptions.

The National Early Warning Centre, in conjunction with the Regional Directorate of ONEMI, will continue to monitor the situation.

[End of ONEMI statement, which is erroneously dated 04/05/07 in its title, by the way.]

So it seems that the reports of low-level eruptive activity at Descabezado Grande were correct. Perhaps we will get some more details from SERNAGEOMIN shortly.

There were reports of possible activity at another Chilean volcano this week, when people living around Cerro Hudson reported earth tremors and sulphurous smells. ONEMI has looked into the reports and has ruled out any eruptive activity, according to Patagonian newspaper El Divisadero, which quotes ONEMI’s regional director Sidi Bravo: ‘in the area there is no activity, a geologist who specializes in the area has established that the condition of the volcano is normal, only [producing] a little water vapour … there is no greater risk, no seismic activity in the area’.

Hudson, a massive 1905-metre stratovolcano topped by a compound caldera, has a history of some very significant eruptions. The most recent events were in 1971 (VEI=3) and the very large and destructive eruption of 1991 (VEI=5+). It’s probably just as well if things are quiet there at the moment.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Descabezado Grande – summary information for Descabezado Grande (1507-05=)
ONEMI – Oficina Nacional de Emergencia – Chilean state emergencies office
SERNAGEOMIN – Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería – Chilean state geological service

The Volcanism Blog