Chile: alert level raised at Llaima 6 March 2010Posted by admin in activity reports, Chile, Llaima, Villarrica.
Tags: Chile, Llaima, Villarrica, volcanic activity reports
The Chilean state geological service SERNAGEOMIN carried out an overflight of Llaima volcano on 4 March, and in the light of the observations made have raised the alert level for Llaima from Yellow Level 3 to the slightly higher Yellow Level 4.
A bulletin issued on 5 March reports that there has been no major change in the activity or morphology of Llaima since the last analysis on 21 February (although the rate of gas emissions, mainly sulphur dioxide, has increased), there have been large rockfalls on the slopes and some cracking of the ice on the northern and northwestern flanks, ‘possibly due to the powerful movement generated by the earthquake of 27 February 2010). The bulletin also suggests that swarms of tectonic quakes near Llaima have been caused by the fault system responding to the 27 February earthquake. Within the volcano, ‘an increase in the amplitude and duration of seismic activity (tremor)’ , and seismic signals ‘suggesting movement of fluids through minor cracks of a superficial character’, have been detected since the afternoon of 4 March.
This seismic activity has led SERNAGEOMIN to raise the alert level to Yellow Level 4, and to recommend an exclusion zone of 4 km radius aroud the volcano. ONEMI have more details of the alert level for Llaima and the surrounding area in a bulletin issued today.
There are some suggestions in the (Argentine) press that Villarrica volcano has also had its alert level raised, but there is no confirmation of this from SERNAGEOMIN or OVDAS, or in Chilean press reports. The most recent SERNAGEOMIN verdict on Villarrica is in a report on the volcanic chain between San Fernando and Puerto Montt, also issued on 5 March, which describes its current behaviour as ‘normal fumarolic activity’. This morning’s webcam views seem to show fresh ash on Villarrica’s upper slopes, and incandescence has been visible from the crater at night. (More on Villarrica later.)