Monday, July 28, 2008

Chaiten Volcano, Chile - John Seach

During a visit to Chaitén volcano in Chile on 9th July, John Seach observed lahar destruction of the town, ashfall damage to surrounding areas, and pyroclastic flow devastation on the north flank of the volcano. On the north side of the volcano at a location 3 km from the crater, an area of devastated forest was visited. Plinian eruptions, and pyroclastic flows, burnt forest and stripped trees of foliage. An area of 10 sq km on the north side of the crater was completely devoid of vegetation, except for some standing devastated trees. Trees up to a meter in diameter were snapped off at a height of 4 m. Fire had burnt the entire area. The field area consisted of a mixture of standing devastated trees, fallen trees, and deep ash deposits. A sharp distinction was observed between areas of devastated forest and standing untouched forest. Continuous ash fall occurred in Chaitén town. Lahars were reaching the town once per week. Residents were allowed into the town to evacuate possessions and begin the clean up. Residents reported hearing rumbling noises under the town, similar to the sound of running water.
More on Chaitén Volcano...