Eruptions

Llaima 2008

Update 7/2/08: Sounds like the lava flows from Llaima are increasing … or that there are more of them. The lava flows, as mentioned below, pose a threat to melt the ice on the volcano and produce lahars, or at least flooding.

Lots of news this morning about a new eruption at Llaima in Chile. The composite volcano is in south central Chile (the lakes region) about 430 miles south of Santiago. This is at least the third time this year that Llaima has erupted, and this time a lava flow is heading down the volcano towards the Rio Calbuco as far as 800 m downslope. The fear is the lava flow could begin to melt snow to create lahars – mixes of water and volcanic material to create a volcanic mudlfow – and evacuations of the elderly have been made around the volcano. However, Llaima is relatively remote and so far this eruption poses no threat to populated areas.

Llaima is one of the noisier volcanoes in South America, erupting frequently in historic times. It has been known to erupt both explosively and effusively, mostly in the VEI 1-2 range, mostly as basaltic andesite to andesite in composition. The last “large” eruption was in 1994, an event that involved both summit and flank vent eruptions of lava and ash, however, there have been at least 10 smaller eruptions since then.