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Chaiten is a caldera volcano in southern Chile that had its first historic eruption on May 2, 2008 when it erupted violently. Ash fall and lahars during the eruption largely damaged the town of Chaitén, which had been evacuated as the eruption started.
The glowing lava dome from Chaitén last night (photo: Francisco Negroni)
The lava dome of the volcano has become more active recently. Incandescent spots are visible at night and a thermal anomaly is visible on satellite data. This suggests that new magma might be rising into the volcano. No explosive activity has (at least so far) occurred.
Increased seismic activity has been detected under the volcano, Chilean scientists reported. ...more
The devastating Plinian eruption of Chaitén in May 2008 forced the evacuation of the entire population of the small coastal town of Chaitén, located only a few kilometers south of the volcano. After the initial explosive phase, several lava domes have been growing slowly by extrusion of degassed, viscous magma. This phase ended in 2011 and since then, the volcano has only produced degassing. On 20 Nov at 08:07 (local time), a volcano-tectonic magnitude 2.4 earthquake occurred at 6 km depth north-east of the volcano. It was followed by a swarm of more than 80 quakes of mostly long-period type, characteristic for movements of fluids (gasses, water, and possibly magma) inside cracks inside the volcanic edifice. They are considered potential precursors to eruptive activity. In addition, pulses of volcanic tremor and a second volcanic-tectonic quakes of magnitude 2.7 at 11:39 local time, this time at shallow 4.4 km depth were recorded. [less]
On 24 February it was reported that a partial dome collapse of Chaitén's Domo Nuevo 1 lava-dome complex a large amount of material accumulated in the basal ring depression surrounding the dome complex and throughout the Blanco River valley. Steam plumes with little ash content and explosions were noted. ...more
On 26 February, it was reported that plumes rose 2 km above the complex. During 26-27 February, there was another small dome collapse. [less]
Chaitén volcano experienced an increase in activity over the past few weeks. Yesterday, around 11 am local time on 19 Feb., a largere section of the growing lava dome in the crater collapsed, triggering a large pyroclastic flow that came close to the already largely abandoned town of Chaitén. According to press reports, heavy ash falls occurred in the area and the evacuation of the remaining residents of the town is under way. ONEMI reports the eruption of a considerable column of ash. ...more
Similar future events triggering pyroclastic flows, as well as mud flows by remobilization of fresh ash by rains could occur any time and threaten what is left of the town of Chaitén. [less]
It was reported that during 29 December-9 January Chaitén's lava dome continued to grow. Plumes rose to altitudes of 2.6-3.1 km. Block-and-ash flows from frequent spine collapses fell down from the edge. ...more
On a flight it was seen that 9 January Domo Nuevo 1 and Domo Nuevo 2 filled up the 3-km-wide inner caldera. Activity was concentrated on the S part of Domo Nuevo 2. Argentine Airlines resumed flights into Esquel airport (about 120 km E) on 12 January, because of ash. Web camera views reported that on 10 and 12 January ash plumes continuously were rosing. [less]
The new lava dome of Chaitén volcano continues to grow and emit a dense plume of mainly vapour, typically rising to ca. 2 km altitude. Seismic activity beneath the volcano remains high. ...more
Heavy rainfalls cause the Chaitén river and tributaries to transform into mud flows and overflow their natural and artificial banks. Water and mud have been destroying ever larger parts of Chaité city, which is now almost completely abandoned. [less]
Heavy rainfalls have caused Rio Blanco river (Chaitén r.) to swell dramatically. Floods have broken through the barriers and containment works that have been built since June, destroying at least 30 homes in Chaitén town. ...more
--- (Source: Chilenean newspapers reported through The Volcanism Blog) [less]
It was reported that during 3-5 September two moderately vigorous plumes from Chaitén were visible on a web camera and rose to altitudes of 2.1-3.1 km. The plumes drifted NW, N, SE, and S. Based on web camera views, analysis of satellite imagery, and information from the Puerto Montt Flight Information Region (FIR), the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 3-6 and 8 September, ash plumes rose continuously to altitudes of 1.5-3 km (5,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW, ESE, and SE.
It was reported that continuous emissions of gas-and-ash plumes from Chaitén were observed on 13 August. ...more
Ash-Plumes rose to an altitude of 2 km a.s.l., but later that day rose to greater altitudes of 6-7 km a.s.l. The increased activity did not correspond to any significant variation in seismicity. Plumes were emitted from two areas on the E and S flanks and were different colors; the area on the E flank produced steam plumes with minor ash content and the area on the S flank emitted darker ash plumes. The plumes drifted SW and caused ashfall in Chaitén town for several hours. The ash accumulation was 1.5 cm thick. [less]
Chaiten's new lava dome continues to grow rapidly inside the crater left by the sub-plinian eruption on 2 May. Over the past week, ash plumes produced by explosions rose to maximum altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE. ...more
SENAGEOMIN reported from overflight observations that about 2500 hectares (6,200 acres) of forest on the N and NE flanks of the volcano were burned by pyroclastic flows or lateral explosions. The area around Chaiten remains closed. Slowly the evacuated town of Chaiten is being buried under mud flows (lahars). [less]
Chaitén volcano continues to erupt strong ash plumes although none during the past weeks reached the intensity of the large explosion on May 2nd. Based on observations of satellite imagery, SIGMET reports, and pilot reports, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 7-13 May ash plumes from Chaitén were continuously present and during 7-9 May rose to altitudes of 6.1-10.1 km (20,000-33,000 ft) a.s.l. The plumes drifted E and NE. ...more
SERNAGEOMIN reported that on 7 May, seismicity from Chaitén increased and a large explosion was registered. On 8 May small pyroclastic flows traveled E and contacted the Rayas River, possibly causing steam plumes. During a break in the cloud cover, the ash-and-gas plume, present since 2 May, was seen rising to an altitude of 15.1 km (50,000ft) a.s.l. and drifting NE. The W side of the plume was darker and denser. ONEMI (Oficina Nacional de emergencia - Ministerio del Interior) reported ashfall in multiple areas on 7, 8, and 10 May. [less]
This is a summary of the eruption events at Chaitén volcano: ...more
The subplinian eruption of Chaitén volcano on May 2, 2008 followed increased seismicity in the region the day before. A pulsating white to gray ash plume rose to an estimated altitude greater than 21 km (68,900 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SSE. The Alert Level was raised to Red. Based on observations of satellite imagery and pilot reports, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported an ash plume at altitudes of 13.7-16.8 km (45,000-55,000 ft) a.s.l. drifted NE. According to news articles, Chile's government declared a state of emergency on 2 May and several hundred people were evacuated from the town of Chaitén (10 km SE). The eruption was initially thought to have been from Minchinmávida, about 17 km ENE, which last erupted in 1835. [less]
The until now rather unknown Chilenean Chaitén volcano erupted violently on 2 May. Chaiten is a small, glacier-free caldera with a lava dome located 10 km NE of the town of Chaitén on the Gulf of Corcovado. There were no known historic eruptions and its last activity might go back several thousands of years.
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