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Puyehue-Cordón Caulle update, 7 June 2011 7 June 2011

Posted by admin in Chile, eruptions, Puyehue.

The eruption of Puyehue-Cordón Caulle in Chile is still ongoing, albeit with reduced energy, and is proving to be a very very ashy event indeed. The ash has now crossed the South American continent and is reaching Buenos Aires, Brazil and Paraguay, as Erik Klemetti notes in an informative update at Eruptions. Flights within South America and further afield have been extensively disrupted but some flights between Chile and Argentina are now gradually resuming. as the ash cloud shifts and begins to disperse. As its effects lessen in one area, however, it makes its presence felt in another: flights between Argentina and Bolivia and from southern parts of Brazil are now being affected.

Back at the site of the eruption, SERNAGEOMIN personnel have been busy assessing the situation and the latest bulletin from the agency, issued at 09:00 local time on 6 June (PDF here), reports that ‘from 13:00 yesterday [5 June] to the time of publication of this bulletin a progressive decline has been observed in the seismic activity associated with Cordón Caulle’. The altitude of the eruption column is given as 10 km, with the plume reaching ‘an approximate length of 3,300 km, directed initially towards the northeast (300 km), then changing its direction towards the southeast-east’ (This dog-leg plume can clearly be seen in a MODIS image of 6 June from NASA’s Terra satellite, reproduced at the NASA Earth Observatory). SERNAGEOMIN observers reported five pyroclastic flows during the afternoon of 5 June generated by the partial collapse of the eruption column which may have travelled along the Nilahue river valley for a distance of approximately 10 km. Bad weather, however, has prevented any confirmation of the precise dimensions of the deposits produced by these flows, or of the presence of any lava. The flow of the Nilahue river was reported to have been reduced on that afternoon, leading to concern at the potential threat of lahars produced by the combination of ashfall and heavy rain. The SERNAGEOMIN bulletin concludes with a warning that lahars are ‘highly probable’ in the river valleys north of the volcano and may affect communities in those areas. The alert level for the volcano remains at Red 6, ‘moderate eruption’.

In pictures: Chile volcano spews ash – BBC News, 7 June 2011
Ash from Chilean volcano grounds flights to and from ArgentinaThe Guardian, 7 June 2011
Chile, Argentina resume flights despite ash cloudWall Street Journal, 7 June 2011
Nube volcánica se dispersa, reanudan vuelos Argentina – Reuters América Latina, 7 June 2011
Suspenden vuelos de Bolivia a Argentina por cenizas de complejo volcánico – Expansión.com, 7 June 2011
Cinzas de vulcão chileno cancelam voos do Brasil para A. do Sul – Terra Brasil, 7 June 2011

Global Volcanism Program: Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex – summary information for the PCCVC (1507-15=)

The Volcanism Blog