10 comments on “The Altiplano – Puna Volcanic Complex

  1. Thanks agimarc, great article! And how fitting that Sabancaya decided to coincide! 😉


  2. IGP (OVS) officially declare the start of a new eruption in Volcan Nevada Sabancaya after 18 years: from the first week of October there was a notable increase in Hybrid events (earthquakes associated with the rise of magma) – in recent weeks volcanic gas emissions have increased significantly, with values ​​of up to 7173 Ton / day on 23 October. Likewise, on November 2, the MIROVA system detected for the first time a thermal anomaly of 1 Mw in the area of ​​the volcano itself. The population closest to Sabancaya is located 20 km to the northeast in the Colca valley but in the vicinity there are some hamlets and camelid-farming communities. Alert level YELLOW is continued.

    Click to access comunicado_conjunto_no03_volcan_sabancaya.pdf

    I’m bringing over my comment from last post to have the Sabancaya stuff together here. And I have added a timelapse GIF:

    Continuous ash emissions up to 1500m from Sabancaya (PE) volcano for at least several hours:



  3. Interesting how Sabancaya’s activity also shows up on the seismic stations of the other volcanoes in the region: El Misti 74km – Ubinas 119km – Ticsani 170km away. Ubinas might have reacted a bit faster as it is restless anyway. It is as if the magma in the “big bowl” is “sloshing around” from Sabancaya’s hickup.

    (Click on the image to open a large version)

    EDIT: Sorry, a mistake: Ubinas should read 10:30 instead of 11.30 on the image.


  4. Howdy all – Moving a Granyia offline comment to the greater blog for your consideration:

    Huge “lake” discovered 15 kilometres under Uturuncu volcano – the unexpected water, which is mixed with partially melted magma, could help to explain why and how eruptions happen. This water may also be playing a role in the formation of the continental crust we live on, and could be further evidence that our planet has had water circulating in its interior since its formation…
    Paper (paywalled)
    Giant magmatic water reservoirs at mid-crustal depth inferred from electrical conductivity and the growth of the continental crust


    • I think the above reprises the breathless reporting of water in the deep mantle some 30 months ago. The discovery was a hydrated mineral called ringwoodite in a layer some 410- 660 km below the surface.


      I think we have the same routine going on with the above story. We know that melt from subducted plates have significant water in it, which was brought along the plate as it dove under the continent. The wet melt rises, mixes with basalt and melted crustal rocks as it forms magma chambers. The magma chamber under the Altiplano is really big. If a percentage of the magma chamber is water, then doing the math leads you to another really big number. It is not a magmatic water reservoir. Rather is is magma with a percentage of water and volatiles. Generally, the wetter the melt, the more explosive the eruption as the water flashes to steam (see the link to popcorn rocks in the last post) depressurizing on the way to the surface.

      This is not journalism. It is chicken-little scaremongering. My uninformed opinion only. Cheers –

      Note: this is aimed entirely at the journalists and the headline writers, not the scientists involved nor my esteemed colleague on this blog.


      • Well, I’m not going to defend anyone, but it wasn’t journalists who have done the research, it were proper scientists. Nor am I a scientist to be able to say if 10 w% of magmatic water is a high percentage, sounds a lot to me though. The novelty, and the whole purpose of the research seems to me that a way of determining the actual amount of water in the magma has been proposed. So far, nobody can measure the water content of magma in situ, all we can do is analyse the erupted (and therefore degassed) lava and model from that an assumed amount of water that might have been in the magma (taking in account temperature, pressure, and a number of other quite uncertain parameters). Laumonier et al. have been able to conduct experiments that involve electrical conductivity measurements of magmatic fluids and from that calculated the water content, which result seems to be higher than was generally expected. Also that the water is sort of “pooling” seems to be a new result.
        If this research has been a first, there will be discussion anyway, so we will probably hear more of t soon.


  5. Pingback: What’s she up to? – Vn. LASTARRIA (Chile) |

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