On 4 February, the south Chilean volcano Villarrica displayed increased seismic activity for the first time since April 2012, which culminated in the start of small Strombolian eruptions on the 6th and 7th. Activity decreased after that, but still remains above background levels and a YELLOW alert is still maintained.
Reports from P.O.V.I.
During the afternoon of 5 February, the lava pit, located about 30 meters inside the chimney and about 130 meters from the edge of the crater, is reactivated, giving rise to a phenomenon known as Strombolian explosions. The gases escape rhythmically, thus violently ejecting incandescent lava splashes in ballistic trajectories, reaching heights of several hundred meters.
February 7: From 2:30 AM, the force of the Strombolian explosions decreases and incandescent glow becomes irregular.
February 17: At night irregular incandescence can be seen on the summit of Villarrica.
From the SERNAGEOMIN report “Overflight Villarrica Volcano: Pyroclastic Cone Grows Slightly and Seismicity Persists”, 20/02/2015:
The director of Sernageomin, Rodrigo Álvarez Seguel, said on Friday (19 Febr.) the conclusions of an overflight over Villarrica Volcano confirm the recordings by the instruments and the level of alert, which is consistent with maintaining restricted access within 1000 meters of the crater. Additionally, there is a slight drop in surface temperature (600 °C), although the energy and seismicity remain almost unchanged compared to the previous days. “Similarly, the intermittent plume is composed mainly of steam, but an increase in outgassing is recorded. In the flyby was found that the lava lake continues near the surface, to emit particles in and around the active crater. “The presence of a thin layer of ash deposited on the slopes of the volcano was verified. Some larger particles were also ejected to a distance less than one kilometer, this is the expected activity for a yellow technical warning,” Alvarez said.
For its part, the regional director of Onemi Araucanía, Janet Medrano said that “the early warning remains in place in the communes of Pucón, Villarrica and Curarrehue, and Panguipulli.”
The Villarrica volcano, first in the ranking of dangerous active volcanoes in Chile, is constantly being observed through 7 monitoring stations located in the volcano, including 8 seismometers, 4 GPS, 3 inclinometers, 3 web cameras that monitor the surface activity, and two teams Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy, measuring the concentration of sulfur dioxide (SO₂) of volcanic origin. Additionally, on February 12, a microphone was installed near the crater to determine more precisely the energy of the explosion, and on February 18, a thermal camera that allows you to record temperature changes in the surface was installed.
SOURCES, WEBCAMS & INFORMATION
– Desde El Sur
UPDATES for the ongoing VILLARRICA eruption:
3 March 2015: Villarrica’s alert level has been raised to Orange yesterday and to RED today. About 3,500 people have been evacuated so far, and the latest violent eruption at 3 a.m. this morning has caused many more people to flee their homes.
Sernageomin, Villarrica page: http://www.sernageomin.cl/volcan.php?iId=22
Reports from the last two days are:
Several roads remain closed. Witnesses noticed the increased flow of nearby rivers which is a result of melting of the perennial snow covering the mountain massif, which in recent days had been an unusual actiity. The most affected localities are Pucón, Villarica, Coñaripe and Panguipulli, all situated in an area ofgreat tourist influx. The column of ash and particles than three miles high, many routes remain cut, although the main routes are kept free for falicitar evacuation, said the National Emergency Office (Onemi). Classes were suspended and several schools were enabled to house evacuees by the eruption of Villarrica, whose activity has decreased after the initial eruption. […] The ash from the volcano also crossed to Argentina. – http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1772968
Two Villarrica webcam images from just now:
6 March 2015: Gathered from various actual newspaper reports (March 5 and 6, 2015):
– SERNAGEOMIN reports that the activity of Villarrica has decreased considerably. The red danger zone has been lowert from 10 to 5 km around the crater. However, low tremor and small strombolian activity are still ongoing.
– Evacuations are stopped and people return gradually to their homes.
– Locals are worried: as this had been such an unusual short eruption, they are afraid that the vent might be obstructed and more vigorous explosions might occur, as has been seen in history. However, they are reminded by their authorities that now scientists have much better means of predicting the behaviour of the volcano and can be trusted to give the right instructions.
– Luis Lara, volcanologist, explained that in the earlier overflight a partial obstruction of the duct had been visible, but mainly the the crater was still open to allow degassing. Therefore the probability of intense energy pulses is relatively low. An eruptive activity that could happen would be smaller than that observed early on March 3.
(Photo C. Valverde via soytemuco.cl)
18 March 2015: Although Villarrica had calmed down over the recent weeks and the alert level was set back yo yellow, today SERNAGEOMIN had to raise it to ORANGE again. Hightened seismicity and two strombolian explosions led to this decision.
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