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Chile: yellow alert at restless Llaima 6 December 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chile, Llaima.
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The Chilean state emergencies office ONEMI (Oficina Nacional de Emergencia) has declared a Yellow Alert for Llaima volcano and surrounding communities. According to an ONEMI bulletin issued yesterday, monitoring of the volcano by SERNAGEOMIN’s Observatorio Vulcanológico de los Andes del Sur (OVDAS) between 14 November and 1 December showed ‘continuing emission of water vapour, volcanic gases and background tremor’. This marks an increase in activity since mid-November – the appearance of background tremor is particularly significant. The bulletin reports that ‘considering the continuing obstruction of the main crater, and the appearance of these new types of seismic events, [OVDAS] indicates that these background conditions increase the likelihood of a possible eruptive reactivation of Llaima volcano, within the next few weeks’.

The Yellow Alert applies to the communities of Melipeuco, Cunco, Vilcún, Curacautín and Lonquimay: the authorities in these municipalities, along with those of the Conguillío National Park (within which Llaima is situated) are required to update and apply their emergency contingency plans and co-ordinate theire response with the local bureau of ONEMI. An exclusion zone of 4 km radius, centred on Llaima’s main crater, is in operation around the volcano itself.

In a further bulletin ONEMI clarifies that the effects of the increased alert level at Llaima are restricted to the enforcement of the exclusion zone around the volcano and more intensive monitoring of its activity, and that ‘the new Alert status does not create new restrictions on the normal activities of the population’.

UPDATE. The increased alert level ‘is a minor issue’ says the Intendenta of Araucanía Region, imposed by SERNAGEOMIN in response to a change in seismic behaviour: ‘this measure is not to alarm the community  but is an alert to the [monitoring] teams to remain vigilant’.

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

Declaran alerta amarilla por actividad del volcán en ChileEl Financiero, 5 December 2009
Chile decreta alerta amarilla en torno a volcán LlaimaEl Comercio, 5 December 2009
Alerta en Chile por posible erupción del volcán LlaimaLa Nación, 5 December 2009
Alerta amarilla por riesgo de erupción del volcán Llaima – Europa Press, 6 December 2009
Llaman a la calma ante aumento de actividad del volcán Llaima – 123 Chile, 6 December 2009

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