I mentioned this at the end of the post on recent Nature paper by Castro and Dindwell on the speed of rhyolite magma ascent at Chaiten, but I'll break it out to get your attention:
>Do you have a burning question about the Chaiten magma you'd love to be able to ask Dr. Castro? He has kindly offered to answer some questions about Chaiten and his research for Eruptions readers. Send me your questions at
and I'll choose some of them for Dr. Castro to answer. I'll post the interview and the answers to your questions here on the blog.
So do it! Send me your questions for Dr. Castro!
done. (What an amazing opportunity!)
We are planning a trip to Chile in April 2010 and hope to visit the town of Chaiten and Pumalin Park. Would the recent increased activity of the Chaiten volcano pose a danger to this area and make it unwise for us to plan a visit there in April 2010?
Thank you for your response.
Pumalin Park is huge and there are many nice places to see WITHOUT going near Chaiten.
I meant to comment on the dangers of touring around Chaiten volcano and the town earlier. If the current activity persists (ie., rapid dome growth, moderate seismicity, and frequent dome collapses) into next April, which I imagine it will, I would strongly urge you NOT to go near the volcano, or linger in the town. Although there are many parts of the Pumalin Park that are completely safe (Chaiten is within the park boundaries) and worth seeing, the area immediately to the north of the volcano is basically exposed--all the forest has been obliterated by pyroclastic flows from early in the eruption, and if I am not mistaken, this area may be part of the exclusion zone maintained by the authorities.
Thing is, a lot of people want to take pictures of the volcano there because of the downed forest and possibly a direct view of Chaiten; but this is tantamount to looking down the barrel of a gun, because of the threat that a major dome collapse could trigger a fast moving pyroclastic flow....that could then, well travel anywhere gravity takes it...hopefully you get the picture.
Perhaps you should check with local geologists and authorities for more up to date information about the exclusion zone.
Remember, safety first!