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Chaitén explosion causes partial cone collapse

Posted by feww on February 20, 2009

Chaitén volcano explodes causing cone to collapse  partially

Chaitén volcano erupted again Thursday in southern Chile, spewing a large cloud of ash, hot gases  and molten rock into the air, sending a river of lava down its slopes after a  partial collapse of its cone. The explosion prompted officials to evacuate about 150 people who had returned to Chaitén town, which lies about 10 km  from the crater, that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption last year.

Steam rises from the Rio Blanco river after the Chaitén volcano spewed ash in Chaitén, some 1,220 km (760 miles) south of Santiago February 19, 2009. REUTERS/Cristian Brown/Intendencia Region de los Lagos/Handout


“I looked up and saw a tremendous column (of ash), just like in the beginning, one-and-a-half kilometers high,” said  a resident who had returned to Chaitén despite government warnings.

“I didn’t see much because it was overcast, and there was this huge column and fierce sound.”

Deputy Interior Minister Patricio Rosende said Chaitén had experienced “a significant resumption of activity”.

“Our security team has observed an increase in the size of a column of ash and smoke, with a deformation to one side,” he added.

“That leads us to presume that there is a collapse of one of the cones. This is more proof of the imminent risk in the area. It is a time-bomb.”

Luis Lara of the National Geologic and Mining Service  warned that a major eruption could occur anytime.

“There could be a major explosion that could collapse the volcano’s cone,” said Lara.

Chile straddles the South American and Nazca tectonic plates, which makes it one of  the most volcanically active regions on the planet.

With an estimated 2,000 volcanoes of which about a tenth are potentially active, Chile boasts the second largest chain of volcanoes in the world after Indonesia. Some 20 [1 percent] of the the active volcanoes in Chile could erupt at any time.

Based on its recent analysis, FEWW team believes that there’s an 80 percent probability Volcán Guallatiri (northern Chile) could erupt explosively after nearly five decades of dormancy.

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2 Responses to “Chaitén explosion causes partial cone collapse”

  1. feww said

    UPDATE:
    Chile to relocate volcano-devastated town [Wed Feb 25, 2009]

    SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile says it has found a new home for the 7,000 residents of Chaiten, the town in the verdant South that turned white with ash last year after a volcano dormant for thousands of years exploded back to life.

    The Chaiten volcano, which erupted spectacularly in 2008, spewed a vast cloud of ash again last week, sending gas and molten rock into skies above the town six miles from its crater, forcing the evacuation of many residents too stubborn to leave a year ago.

    A handful of residents are still hanging on and vow to stay put.

    “We have agreed on a location where we will begin the reconstruction or the construction of the new Chaiten, in a place that has several names, among them Fandango Norte and Santa Barbara,” said Chile’s Interior Minister Edmundo Perez Yoma.

    The new location is essentially empty and located about 760 miles south of the capital Santiago. The new town will be located about 6 miles from the original Chaiten site.

    “We’ll go with provisional installations to start with, while we build the new city hall,” Perez Yoma said after a meeting with Chaiten Mayor Pedro Vazquez and a presidential envoy to the area.

    Authorities said municipal buildings could be ready to start functioning within up to three months, but could not say when the new town will be up and running.

    (Reporting by Mitzi Belmar and Monica Vargas, writing by Pav Jordan; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
    http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE51O7UM20090225

    • feww said

      Dear Minister Edmundo Perez Yoma/ Distinguished Chilean Authorities:

      Based on what assumption(s) would the proposed new town location be any safer than the original Chaiten site?

      Please respond!

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