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Chaiten gains force

Chaiten Ashfall


Well, this is getting rather harrowing. Volcan Chaiten, the Chilean volcano that sprung back to life last Friday after anywhere between 2,000 to 7,000 of quiet, is apparently erupting lava along with ash now. Sounds like its a good rhyolite/rhyodacite lava based on the description: “very small and very thick and as such was moving slowly so it is moving very slowly”.


Chilean officials are now fearing that the volcano is in “worst case scenario” mode – although, they never mention what that might be: full-on caldera? topography-erasing ignimbrite? Pinatubo-scale eruption? However, the SERNAGEOMIN says the eruption has “reached its climax.”


The real problem right now is less the eruption (which is still a problem) but more the collateral issues like water/food supply that can be easily spoiled by ashfall. Look for this to become a humanitarian effort soon, but luckily the region isn’t densely populated. Upwards of 30-cm of ash has fallen on many parts of the area. Currently, 12,000 residents of the area have been evacuated.


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