Skip to content
Guest Thinkers

Two Chilean volcanoes showing signs of increased activity?

There were two threads of news this morning about potential activity at two fairly active Chilean volcanoes. First, there are reports of explosions  (spanish) with ash or merely steam emissions at Peteroa on the Chile-Argentina border. One report (spanish) has the Argentine Air Force reporting ash-and-steam rising as high as 200 m / 650 feet, which was apparently “confirmed” on satellite images. Michael Haller from the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET) in Argentina seems to have confirmed (spanish) that there was a small explosion at Peteroa as well. However, this report also suggests that this activity is directly related to the January 2010 M9 Chilean earthquake and although there are suggestions that the large earthquakes in Chile can trigger eruptions, it (in my opinion) is way too early to definitely connect these events. However, there was a M5.2 earthquake on the same day as this new explosion (spanish), which the SERNAGEOMIN of Chile is connecting to this event. The last eruption of Peteroa was in 1998, a fairly small VEI 1 event.

Second, Ralph at the Volcanism Blog noticed reports of an ash emission from Villarrica in southern central Chile. Villarrica tends to have active lava in the summit crater that can produce steam/gas plumes and glowing at night, but an ash emission is a bit of a surprise. You can watch for any new activity on the one of the two Villarrica webcams as well. I also want to point out Ralph’s excellent primer on how to read VAAC ash reports – a must for volcano-watchers.

{Thanks to the Eruptions readers to provided some of the links in this post}.

UPDATE: It is a little hard to tell if this is a new report, but Bloomberg has an article up about activity at Peteroa (also known as Planchon-Peteroa), describing a 1.2 km / 4,000 foot plume and the volcano is “spewing pyroclastic material and gases“. This comes from reports by the Chilean SERNAGEOMIN.

Top left: A small steam-and-ash plume from Peteroa on the Chilean-Argentine border.


Up Next