Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chaitén Volcano, Chile - John Seach

Eruptions continue at Chaitén volcano in Chile. Small pyroclastic flows have been observed at the volcano descending eastwards into Raya river. Yesterday, the eruption column reached an altitude of 14 km at 2pm, which drifted northeast. A new crater has opened up at the western base of the dome. Seismic monitoring equipment has been moved from the town of Chaitén to a safer location on Talcán island. The number of volcano-tectonic earthquakes remains constant at 35 events per day, concentrated on the outer regions of the volcano. Two large explosions occurred on 6th and 7th May (23:35 hr). A shallow reservoir of magma at 5 km depth has been ascending towards the surface. Breaking of rock in the conduit due to magma ascent has been responsible for the large explosions. An ongoing hazard at the volcano is the collapse of eruption columns, or dome collapse, creating pyroclastic flows which descend radially from the volcano into adjacent valleys. Helicopter overflights will continue to visually monitor the volcano as well as retrieve seismic data. The alert level remains at the highest rating, RED.
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