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Chile: the latest from Planchón (and Chaitén) 8 October 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Argentina, Chaitén, Chile, eruptions, Planchón-Peteroa.

Chilean state geological service SERNAGEOMIN has issued a new bulletin (4 October 2010) giving the latest information about the ongoing activity at Planchón-Peteroa and Chaitén volcanoes.

The report on Planchón-Peteroa, covering the period 16-30 September, says that data from monitoring of the volcano indicates that ‘the current activity is characterized by the active presence of a body of magma, interacting with the upper hydrothermal system of the volcano, which continues in a minor eruptive process’. A high level of seismic activity has been recorded, associated with fluid movements in the interior of the volcano. including a continuous tremor signal. An overflight on 30 September revealed that the volcano is continuing to produced ‘pyroclastic eruptive activity of a low intensity’, but that there has been a ‘slight increase in the vigour of the emissions compared with that seen over the last three weeks’. Other observations from the overflight:

The eruptive activity has remained constant in the south-western crater, with a relatively dense column of ash, gases and diffuse emanations of water vapour. The emission of ash and gases was maintained from the lower north-eastern edge of the crater, but it was more continuous and vigorous than was observed during the flights of 7 and 9 September. From the air, a column a little more dense than on those occasions could be observed.

The ash column rising from the crater was inclined towards the east to a height of approximately 400 metres above the level of emission. From this point the column was dispersed and diluted over a wide area of Argentine territory. During the overflight, the greater part of the ash plume in suspension was distributed towards the east and, from there, a part towards the north-east, for tens of kilometres, at heights of up to 6000 metres a.s.l. A more dilute trace of the plume extended to the south and south-east at maximum altitudes of 3000 metres a.s.l. between Argentine valleys.

The report concludes that the volcano’s current behaviour suggests that ‘the magma body and the hydrothermal system are remaining in a certain equilibrium’. The alert level remains at Yellow level 4.

A detailed version of the Planchón bulletin in PDF can be found by going to the ‘informes’ page on the horrible OVDAS website and clicking on Región del Maule (VII) Volcán Planchón-Peteroa in the list under ‘Informes, Reportes y Otros Informes’ for the list of recent reports, or you can open the PDF directly by clicking here.

As for Chaitén, things remain active but quiet: a slight increase in seismic activity was registered during 20-28 September compared to levels earlier in the month, but ‘the energy released by the volcanic system remains at relatively low levels, comparable to earlier months’. SERNAGEOMIN is maintaining an alert level of Yellow level 3.

Watching Planchón: the main page of the Proyecto Observación Volcán Villarrica (POVI) website currently features information on the Planchón activity, and SERNAGEOMIN-OVDAS has a webcam at Romeral which provides a very good view of Planchón-Peteroa, weather permitting.

References to volcano alert levels on this blog are not authoritative and are not necessarily up to date. You should always check with official sources for the latest alert levels.

[Thanks to Guillermo for letting me know about the new SERNAGEOMIN bulletin.]

Global Volcanism Program: Planchón-Peteroa – summary information for Planchón-Peteroa (1507-04=)
Global Volcanism Program: Chaitén – summary information for Chaitén (1508-041=)
Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería – Chilean state geological service SERNAGEOMIN
Observatorio Volcanológico de los Andes del Sur – the ghastly website for OVDAS

The Volcanism Blog


1. Guillermo - 9 October 2010

The page is not horrible, is disgusting.

2. admin - 9 October 2010

It is totally disgusting!

3. Guillermo - 14 October 2010

The odyssey of the miners has ended.

4. admin - 14 October 2010

That’s good news anyway.

5. Julie K. - 15 October 2010

It is always quite risky do mining in seismic area. The safety rules should be more strong than anywhere else. Those miners were lucky as they had a couple skilful specialists around to get them out of there…

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