There are some astounding new pictures of Chaiten in full eruption over at the Smithsonian Website. There pictures were released by the USGS/VDAP team and show a full eruption column coming from the new dome in the Chaiten caldera (see above and below). The dome itself looks giant, filling up a lot of the old caldera (the highlands around the edge of the dome itself). The eruption is almost the antithesis of the 2004-08 Mt. Saint Helens dome eruptions which has produced a minute dome filling the 1980 crater. This rhyolite dome is the first major rhyolite eruption in almost 100 years, so I can’t understate the significance of Chaiten. Exciting stuff for those of us into silicic magma.
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