Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chaiten Volcano, Chile - John Seach

A flyover of Chaiten volcano on 29th September 2009 showed the volcano continues to erupt. There has been a change in morphology which reflects changing conditions at the summit dome complex. A third dome is forming in the centre west of the crater. During the observation period of 16-30 September 2009 ash emissions reached a height of 2 km above the summit. The two major sources of emissions are in the centre and east of the dome complex. Block and ash flows are occurring, indicating that the dome complex is very active and has continued to grow. On 29th September information was received about the possible reactivation of Chaiten volcano. The information corresponded to visual observations made by people from the town of Chaitén, which reported an increase in eruptive activity just after 14:00 hrs. The increase in activity related to gravitational collapse of a dome in the southwest followed by an increase in emissions of gas and ash. Seismic data indicated the partial dome collapse corresponded to arrival of low frequency and large amplitude signals produced by the great Samoan earthquake. The event caused changes to the unstable part of Chaiten's dome complex, but little other change to other parts of the volcano. There have been previous examples in the literature of distant earthquakes causing a change in eruptive activity at volcanoes.
More on Chaiten Volcano...