Slides in this set
The Chaitén volcano is located in South-Eastern Chile above a subduction zone
where the Nazca Plate is forced beneath the South American Plate.
Map showing location
of Chaitén volcano
Cross-section (A-B on
map) showing Nazca
Plate being Subducted…read more
General info on the area itself:
·The town of Chaitén, situated 10km South-West of the
volcano has a population of approximately 4200 people.
·Chaitén is the former capital of the Palena Province in
the Los Lagos Region of Chile and is therefore a very
·Chaitén is also located North of the mouth of the Yelcho
·With 122 volcanoes (40 of which are active), Chile has one
of the longest volcano chains in the world.
·Chile is considered to be an MEDC, but has many poorer
areas within it's borders.
The Chaitén coat of
Chaitén's location in
relation to the rest of
Chile (white area)…read more
General info on Chaitén volcano:
·The volcano did feature a lava dome within a
caldera about 2.5km wide and 4km long.
·It is composed of viscous, rhyolitic lavas and
·Before this eruption, it hadn't erupted for roughly
9,400 years and was classified as a "low-threat"
·The Chaitén volcano had a history of explosive
eruptions, dome building and pyroclastic flows
associated with dome collapse.
·It had lain dormant for so long that it was not
BEFORE AFTER…read more
A Timeline of Chaitén's volcanic activity in the months
leading up to the eruption
The first earthquakes were felt late on 30th April 2008.
On the 1st May 2008, the eruption began. A plume of
volcanic ash and steam rose 17km into the air. This went
on for more than 6 hours.
The volcano continued to spit out volcanic ash until the 8th
of May, which rose to a maximum height of 30km. There
were intermittent large explosions of ash accompanied by
pyroclastic flows and lahars.
Chaitén is blanketed with Ash. Smaller settlements to the
South-East, such as Chubut and Rio Negro also received
4000 residents of the town of Chaitén were evacuated by
boat, along with 1000 residents from Futaleufu, a nearby
By 10th May, Lahars overran the town of Chaitén and the
Chilean government ordered the complete evacuation of
On 28 May the eruptive column remained between 3.5 and
4km above sea level and the plume was blown in a
northerly/north-westerly direction, affecting areas hundreds
of kilometres to the north
A new lava dome was formed with a sustained vapour and
ash column.…read more
The Nature of the Volcanic Hazard:
The rhyolitic nature of the lava and ash in this area meant
that any eruption was likely to be dominated by pyroclastic
flows, which was the case.
By late May, a 540,000m² lava dome was formed, containing
55million m³ of material.
The height of the ash column was at it's maximum when it
was 30km high.
The eruption triggered thunder storms and a passing polar
storm led to heavy rainfall, which resulted in flooding.
During the initial
Short-Term Impacts: (short+long term)
·In early May, 5 planes (3 of which were commercial) encountered
ash clouds. Several others sustained significant engine damage, but
considering the scale of the event, engine damage was minimal. (ec)
·Chaitén is blanketed with Ash. Smaller settlements to the South-
East, such as Chubut and Rio Negro also received heavy ashfalls.
·As rainfall mixed with the ash, lahars were formed and these
covered the whole of the town of Chaitén by the 10th day. (en)(s)
·Communications were cut in many areas. (s)
·Many of the roads were blocked by ash. (s)(en)
·Ashfalls of up to 15cm deep contaminated water supplies, as there
was a layer of ash covering the reserviors. (s)
·Heavy rainfall combined with ash and debris to block rivers, which
led to flooding. On May 12th, flooding began. By 14th May, 90% of
Chaitén had been flooded by either the River Blanco or the River
·Only 1 person died (due to stress). (s)
·A few farm animals died. (s)(ec)
·Many people experienced breathing difficulty among other health
problems. This affected not only Chile, but also Argentina and
hospitals were under strain. (s)
·Between 80-90% of the town of Chaitén was reported damaged,
with 20-30% completely destroyed. (ec)(en)(s)
·Marine facilities and airports were damaged. (s)(ec)
(s) = social
(ec) = economical
(en) = environmental…read more