Nevados de Chillan. Science Source The activity at Nevados de Chillán appear to be getting stronger, at least based on the explosions that occurred over this past weekend. A dark grey ash plume from one of the new craters is becoming a more common feature. Now, the plume isn't especially tall and it is intermittent, but the views of the webcams show that the volcano is quite restless. It would be interesting to know if the ash shows signs of new magma (seen in the shape of the ash) or if we're still just pumping out shattered pieces of existing lava that is being formed in steam-driven explosions. An overflight of the volcano by the SERNAGEOMIN revealed that the new crater (see below) is about 25-30 meters across and about 50 meters to the east of the Arrau crater. This crater joins a series of new fumaroles and vents that have formed on the summit area. However, the recorded temperatures at the summit (125ºC) suggest that no new magma is particularly near the surface. The SERNAGEOMIN and ONEMI have created a 2-km exclusion zone around these new active craters on Nevados de Chillán and a yellow alert remains in place for the region.
#VolcánNevadosDeChillán No acercarse a menos de 2k de cráteres activos: http://t.co/a6fBWzj23l 30-1-2016 pic.twitter.com/Gl7ELOkM5O
— Sernageomin (Chile) (@Sernageomin) January 31, 2016
, who knows a thing or two about the volcano
, has some thoughts about what is going on and what to expect. His current prognosis
is that the current activity may lead to a very small event, like the eruption in 2003, or, if signs that magma is reaching the surface appear, to new lava flows from the Nuevo-Arrau cones. Right now, it seems that the hydrothermal system is definitely warming up, but no clear signals exist that new magma is going to make it to the surface.Some other volcano tidbits:
A research vessel headed to Antarctica caught a rare view of Heard Island's Mowson Peak steaming. Its remote location and fairly bad weather conditions mean that most activity from the volcano is never seen or glimpsed by satellite.
Dr. David Pyle of Oxford University takes a look at why we can't predict eruptions now, but we're getting better.