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Alert level raised at Llaima (updated) 16 February 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chile, Llaima.
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The alert level for Llaima volcano in Chile has been raised to Yellow, level III (the second-highest level). The English-language Santiago Times is reporting that steam and gas emissions have been seen at the summit: the volcano ‘could be set to erupt, experts say’. However the Chilean state emergencies office ONEMI describes this as a preventive alert and says that there are no signs that an eruption is imminent. 

The most recent SERNAGEOMIN bulletin for Llaima, released on 11 February 2010 and covering 20 January to 9 February, reports that ’emissions of water vapour and occasional slight emission of gases from the principal crater’ were observed during that period, reflecting normal degassing, but that the volcano’s seismic activity indicates a possible increase in activity in the near future:

Although this release of gases is in a ‘passive’ manner through permeable areas of the crater, continuing to balance the pressure conditions, the oscillating character of the seismic activity, the occurrence of qualitatively different tremor signals, as well as VT [volcanic-tectonic] earthquakes with epicentres within the volcanic edifice recorded during the period of this bulletin, indicate an intense fluid activity within the volcano’s conduits, which along with the fact that the principal crater remains partially obstructed, indicates that the volanic system may be approaching a state of disequilibrium.

… hence the increase in alert level. The OVDAS webcam monitoring Llaima from Cherquenco (giving a close-up view of the summit) shows some steam emissions within the crater – below is a capture from 12:50 UTC today. All four Llaima webcams can be accessed from the OVDAS front page.

Llaima volcano 16 February 2010 (OVDAS Cherquenco webcam)

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

News
Decretan alerta amarilla en el Llaima y restringen acceso al volcánEl Mercurio, 15 February 2010
Declaran alerta roja en volcán chilenoLa Crónica de Hoy, 15 February 2010
Sernageomin eleva nivel de Alerta Amarilla del volcán LlaimaLa Tercera, 15 February 2010
Steam seen from Llaima volcanoSantiago Times, 16 February 2010

Information
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