Chile Volcano: Red Alert Issued For Copahue: REPEAT RED ALERT!!


Chilean and Argentine officials have issued a red alert for the Copahue volcano bordering the two countries and ordered the evacuation of about 3,000 people.

The nearly 10,000ft (2,965m) volcano, which sits in the Andes cordillera, straddling Chile’s border with Argentina’s Neuquen province, has become increasingly active in recent times.

Argentine officials raised their alert level to red – after initially issuing a yellow alert – because of higher seismic activity and ordered the evacuation of about 600 people from the town of Caviahue to the neighbouring city of Loncopue.

Volcano Eruption in Chile on Tuesday, 28 May, 2013 at 02:45 (02:45 AM) UTC.


Updated: Tuesday, 28 May, 2013 at 07:21 UTC
Chilean and Argentine officials issued a red alert Monday for the increasingly active Copahue volcano bordering the two countries and ordered the evacuation of about 3,000 people. Chilean Interior and Security Minister Andres Chadwick said the increased activity could lead to an eruption and officials would soon begin evacuating 2,240 people, or 460 families, within a 15.5-mile radius. “This evacuation is obligatory; it’s not voluntary,” Chadwick told reporters. Chile’s Emergency Office said the evacuation could last about 48 hours, but could be delayed because of heavy rains. The nearly 10,000-foot sits in the Andes cordillera, overlapping Chile’s Bio Bio region and Argentina’s Neuquen province. Argentine officials raised their alert level to red Monday afternoon due to higher seismic activity and ordered the evacuation of about 600 people from the town of Caviahue to the neighboring city of Loncopue. “The volcano is not erupting yet, but as a preventive measure we’ve decided to evacuate the population,” the Neuquen Crisis Committee said. “There are no ashes in Caviahue. The vapor plume has descended, but in the last days, seismic activity has increased. That’s the reason behind the change of alert in Argentina and Chile.” Copahue registered high seismic activity in December when its ash cloud billowed almost a mile high. The volcano had a major eruption in 1992, according to the Chilean Mining Ministry’s Sernageomin geology unit. It became highly active with blasts and gases in 2002, in its strongest activity in more than 20 years.

It might be a holiday in many parts of the world, but Chile’s Copahue isn’t taking a day off. The Chilean Geological Survey (SERNAGEOMIN) and civil authority (ONEMI) have moved the volcano to red alert status, which means an eruption is imminent or in progress. So far, from the details I can find, it is the former — an eruption is likely in the works in the hours to days timescale. The latest update from the SERNAGEOMIN says that over 250 small earthquakes related to magma movement are being recorded per hour at Copahue (although so far continuous volcanic tremor — an almost sure sign of eruption — has not been recorded). No plume has been spotted in the last day in satellite imagery and only a modest, ~400 meter steam-and-ash plume was seen from ground observations. However, the citizens of Caviahue in Argentina, just across the border from Copahue, have reported explosions and incandescence from the volcano.

Volcanic hazard map of Copahue from the SERNAGEOMIN. Red marks lava flow and lahar hazard zones, yellow marks lesser pyroclastic flow hazard zones. The stippled area is potential ash hazard. Image: SERNAGEOMIN.

Here is the direct conclusion by Gil Fernando Cruz at Sernageomin about what will happen:

The intensity and type of seismicity observed in recent days, in conjunction with the deformation of the volcanic edifice, suggest, with a high probability, that the rise of a magmatic body in the shallow layers of the volcano has entered a process of no return. It is highly probable that an extrusion of a dome and its associated phenomena such as explosive phreatic events, magmatic eruptions and a vulcanian type and/or a subpliniana eruption, with intensities greater than seen before might occur. Such eruptions could generate pyroclastic flows and lahars. It is recommended to focus on a radius of 15 km around the active crater and on the banks of the rivers originating in the volcano at the possibility of lahars. The previous alert level is therefore changed to RED.

More will be added to this post as things unfurl. There will also hopefully be a few added links.






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