Chaiten 2008

Just when you thought it was safe to go outside.

After apparently settling down a bit over the weekend, Chaiten has kicked it back up a notch. The latest reports say that two ash columns are active … and that is about all we get for more news. Not surprisingly, most of the damage around the volcano has been done by flooding and/or lahars, thanks to the ash and debris-choked rivers like Rio Blanco. It also sounds like the SERNAGEOMIN is digging in for the long-haul, calling for the eruption to go on – to some degree – for months. This isn’t too shocking considering the minor dome eruption at Mt. Saint Helens that started in 2004 has been going on for 4 years.


  1. #1 Lisa Gentry
    June 19, 2008

    does anyone know the actual levels of CO2, amounts of ash and the other dangerous gasses coming out of the volcano… totals so far? I’d read back in May that there were varying amounts of CO2 and that the initial blast month kicked out close to the amounts of Mt St Helens… also, I’m understanding that most of the ash plume for over a month now has been mostly water vapor. Are there numbers to back this that anyone can find?

  2. #2 Erik Klemetti
    June 20, 2008

    I haven’t read anything specific, but I imagine many of the SERNAGEOMIN updates have good information. In fact, if you head on over to the Volcanism Blog, there is a great synopsis of the latest SERNA briefing on Chaiten:

    In any case, most volcanic plumes are dominantly water, so it would be nothing unique to Chaiten. The real question would be the amounts of CO2 and SO2 that the volcano is releasing. Any way you cut it, it is likely a lot due to the longevity and tenacity of this eruption.

  3. #3 Erik Klemetti
    June 20, 2008

    Oops. I meant to say that this is the latest USGS VDAP briefing for the SERNA.

  4. #4 Lisa Gentry
    June 21, 2008

    I don’t read in spanish very well. So, unfortunately, Sernageomin is not the best place for me. I check the Volcanism Blog at least 1 time daily, as I do here and 3 other sites. But, thanks for the link. It’s appreciated. Volcanism Blog as well as yours are both great resources. I’ve also done extensive google searches, which is where I found earlier info and many of the sites I check daily. Hrmmm… since USGS just sent a small team (like 3 or so geologists/volcanologists) down there to help out, it may end up having English info a bit more often… and we know how USGS likes to keep track of numbers. Mt St Helens is a perfect example. Thanks!

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