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Chilean volcanoes: all quiet after the earthquake, reports SERNAGEOMIN 5 March 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Chile, Villarrica, volcano monitoring.
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Villarrica volcano 5 March 2010 (OVDAS Pucon webcam)
Villarrica volcano from the Pucón webcam, 5 March 2010 (OVDAS).

In the wake of the M8.8 earthquake of 27 February, which led to speculation about the quake’s possible effects on the local volcanoes, the Chilean state geological service SERNAGEOMIN carried out an evaluation of activity at the volcanoes that are currently monitored in Chile. On 3 March a special volcanic activity bulletin was issued reporting that there is nothing unusual going on at any of the monitored Chilean volcanoes: ‘the levels and characteristics of seismic activity at Llaima, Villarrica, Chaitén, Mocho-Choshuenco, Osorno, Carrán, Calbuco and San Pedro volcanoes have shown no significant changes associated with the seismic event and activity is currently stable’. The caldera webcam at Chaitén ‘shows that the dome remains stable’, and the cameras at Llaima ‘show no significant changes in the fumarolic activity or the morphology’ of the volcano. The Villarrica webcams show ‘no major morphological change in its surface’, and visual observations of Osorno, Calbuco and Yate ‘show no abnormal situations’. (Chilean volcano webcams can be accessed via the OVDAS website.)

An overflight of Villarrica and Mocho-Choshuenco volcanoes took place on 28 February, to ‘evaluate possible changes both in activity and in glaciers and flanks’. The overflight revealed a gas and water vapour fumarole at Villarrica: this activity is described as ‘within the normal state’ of the volcano. No activity was seen at El Mocho volcano. The bulletin also notes the following observations:

The icecap on Villarrica volcano showed some new cracks and fissures on the flanks of the principal cone near the summit, caused by the 27 February earthquake, although the dimensions were smaller than those routinely present in the icecap. In addition, some small falls of ice were observed on the south flank and a small snow avalanche on the north-west flank. In the upper part of the cone of Villarrica volcano and on the north, north-west and west flanks abundant falls of rock from the summit onto the icecap and, locally, on escarpments of the flanks. In the case of Mocho volcano, small cracks were observed only on the south-east flank of the cone, the rest of the icecap showed no changes.

The OVDAS Pucón webcam shows Villarrica producing a faint fumarole this morning (see picture above).

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