Eruptive activity of Planchón-Peteroa volcano for period 2010-2011, Southern Andean Volcanic Zone, Chile

Felipe Aguilera, Oscar Benavente, Francisco Gutiérrez, Jorge Romero, Ornella Saltori, Rodrigo González, Mariano Agusto, Alberto Caselli, Marcela Pizarro


Planchón-Peteroa volcano started a renewed eruptive period between January 2010 and July 2011. This eruptive period was characterized by the occurrence of 4 explosive eruptive phases, dominated by low-intensity phreatic activity, which produced almost permanent gas/steam columns (200-800 m height over the active crater). Those columns presented frequently scarce ash, and were interrupted by phreatic explosions that produced ash columns 1,000-3,000 m height in the more intense periods. Eruptive plumes were transported in several directions (NW, N, NE, E and SE), but more than half of the time the plume axis was 130-150° E, and reached a distance up to 638 km from the active crater. Tephra fall deposits identified in the NW, N, NE, E and SE flanks covered an area of 1,265 km2, thickness variable from 4 m (SE border of active crater) to ~0.5 cm 36.8 km SE and ~8 km NW from active crater, respectively, corresponding to a minimum volume of 0.0088 km3. Tephra fall deposit is exclusively constituted of no juvenile fragments including: lithics fragments as main component, quartz and plagioclase crystals, some oxidized lithics, and occasional presence of Fe oxide, and less frequently Cu minerals, as single fragments. We present new field-based measurements data of the geochemistry of gas/water from fumaroles and acid crater lakes, and fall deposit analysis, that integrated with the eruptive record and GOES satellite data, suggests that the eruptive period 2010-2011 has been related to an increasing of heat and mass transfer from hydrothermal-magmatic reservoirs, which would have been favoured by the formation and/or reactivation of cracks after 8.8 Mw Maule earthquake in February 2010. This process also allowed the ascent of fluids from a shallow hydrothermal source, dominated by reduced species as H2S and CH4, during the entire eruptive period, and the release of more oxidizing fluids from a deep magmatic reservoir, dominated by acid species as SO2, HCl and HF, increasing strongly after the end of the eruptive period, probably since October 2011. The eruptive period was scored with a magnitude of 3.36, corresponding to a VEI 1-2.


Phreatic explosions; Fluid geochemistry; Planchón-Peteroa volcano

How to cite this article Aguilera, F., Benavente, O., Gutiérrez, F., Romero, J., Saltori, O., González, R., Agusto, M., Caselli, A., and Pizarro, M., 2015, Eruptive activity of Planchón-Peteroa volcano for period 2010-2011, Southern Andean Volcanic Zone, Chile: Andean Geology, v. 43, no. 1, p. 20-46., doi: