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Puyehue-Cordón Caulle update, 11 June 2011 11 June 2011

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chile, eruptions, Puyehue.
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Puyehue-Cordón Caulle Volcanic Complex: sulphur dioxide plume captured on 6 June by the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer on Eumetsat’s MetOp-A satellite (ESA image

The image above comes from the European Space Agency, and shows the sulphur dioxide plume released by the eruption at the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex. The image was captured on 6 June 2011 by the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer on Eumetsat’s MetOp-A satellite.

The eruption continues at Puyehue-Cordón Caulle: the overall picture appears to be of a stable situation of continuing activity with a slight tendency to decline; within this overall picture there is slight variability in the intensity of the eruption. SERNAGEOMIN’s bulletins (accessible as PDFs here) generally report slight reductions in seismic activity from day to day, although the bulletin for 9 June (PDF, or online) reported a slight increase compared with the previous day. The most recent bulletin (10 June 2011: PDF, or online) reports a slight decline in seismic activity and a continuation of tremor associated with the process of degasification, also consistent with previous days. The eruption column is not currently visible because of poor weather conditions, but the bulletin gives its altitude as approximately 3.7 km, with the plume directed towards the SE, with prediction of continuing ashfall ‘towards the ESE’. Using satellite data, the bulletin also gives a location for the seat of the eruption: ‘New satellite images from the TerraSAR X satellite allow centre of emission of the eruption to be located more precisely. The location has been determined to be in the Los Baños area, at the headwaters of the río Nilahue, at co-ordinates 40.525º S, 72.142º W’. This puts the activity on the south flank of Puyehue-Cordón Caulle, about 7.5 km from the summit.

The bulletin warns that ‘given the stability of the eruptive activity’ there is the likelihood of ‘continuing occurrence of waves of pyroclastic flows along the course of the Nilahue river, the waters of which may reach temperatures similar to those reported yesterday [45°]’, and that ‘the heavy rain occurring in the region, along with the great accumulation of pyroclastic material (ash, pumice, flows) in the headwaters of the watercourses which originate in the volcanic complex, favour the probability of the occurrence of secondary lahars generated by the blocking of the stream beds’. The accumulation of ash across a wide area to the SE of the volcano is expected to cause continuing problems of floods and lahars for as long as the eruption continues. The bulletin ends by stressing that despite the eruption’s tendency towards stability there remains the possibility of an upswing in activity, and thus that the alert level of Red 6 – Moderate Eruption is being maintained.

The problems caused by the ash from Puyehue-Cordón Caulle have not gone away, and given the situation as reported by SERNAGEOMIN it looks as if they will be around for some time to come. Reports today say that the ash is now reaching as far as New Zealand and Australia, where flights are already being cancelled because of the presence of ash at 20-30,000 feet. In South America extensive flight disruptions continue, as the ash cloud reaches across Argentina to southern Brazil and Uruguay, The effects of the eruption on the flora and fauna of the region have been causing some concern, as have the economic impacts on the affected areas, notably Patagonia.

The Chilean Army has been heavily involved in monitoring and relief operations in the area affected by the eruption: Radio Bío-Bío has a report and pictures. Approximately 4,000 people have so far been affected by evacuation orders in Chile; and where there are evacuations, there are always people who refuse to go. A court in southern Chile has granted the authorities powers to remove by force, if necessary, 14 (or possibly 18) people near the volcano who insist on staying in harm’s way.

News
Evacuaron a 4.000 personas en Chile por la actividad volcánica – Infobae.com, 6 June 2011
Las cenizas partieron al país por la mitad y complicaron a Uruguay – MDZ Online, 9 June 2011
La emisión de ceniza no cedeLa Mañana Neuquén, 9 June 2011
Justicia autoriza uso de la fuerza pública para evacuar Cordón CaulleLa Nación, 10 June 2011
Justicia ordenó evacuación obligatoria por volcánLa Cuarta, 10 June 2011
Cordón Caulle: Conoce los equipos con que el Ejército monitorea la zona y realiza labores de apoyo – Radio Bío-Bío, 10 June 2011
Aumenta actividad sísmica en cordón Caulle y oleadas de material volcánico seguirán bajando por Río NilahueLa Tercera, 10 June 2011
Millones de peces, víctimas de la erupción del Puyehue – Rioja2.com, 10 June 2011
Volcán chileno amenaza economía de la Patagonia argentina – América Latina AP, 10 June 2011
Otro día de fastidio en aeropuertos argentinos por ceniza del volcán – AFP, 10 June 2011
Chile volcano ash cloud grounds more flights – BBC News, 10 June 2011
Ash from Chilean volcano grounds flights – Associated Press, 10 June 2011
Chile volcano ash threatens New Zealand flights – Focus News, 11 June 2011
Volcanic ash moving towards New Zealand – TVNZ, 11 June 2011
Qantas cancels flights due to volcanic ash – ABC News, 11 June 2011

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

The Volcanism Blog

Comments

1. Denise Murphy - 11 June 2011

Thank you for your detailed report. I remain humbled and amazed by the power of natural phenomena.
QANTAS has cancelled flights to New Zealand, though Air New Zealand has not, believing that they can fly above or around the ash cloud.

2. beano - 12 June 2011

QANTAS operates on a overly protective precautionary principle.


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