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Vancouver, WA, United States

Gerlach T.,Cascades Volcano Observatory
Eos | Year: 2011

Which emits more carbon dioxide (CO 2): Earth's volcanoes or human activities? Research findings indicate unequivocally that the answer to this frequently asked question is human activities. However, most people, including some Earth scientists working in fields outside volcanology, are surprised by this answer. The climate change debate has revived and reinforced the belief, widespread among climate skeptics, that volcanoes emit more CO 2 than human activities [Gerlach, 2010; Plimer, 2009]. In fact, present-day volcanoes emit relatively modest amounts of CO 2, about as much annually as states like Florida, Michigan, and Ohio. Source

Major J.J.,Cascades Volcano Observatory | Lara L.E.,Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria
Andean Geology | Year: 2013

Chaitén Volcano erupted unexpectedly in May 2008 in one of the largest eruptions globally since the 1990s. It was the largest rhyolite eruption since the great eruption of Katmai Volcano in 1912, and the first rhyolite eruption to have at least some of its aspects monitored. The eruption consisted of an approximately 2-week-long explosive phase that generated as much as 1 km3 bulk volume tephra (~0.3 km3 dense rock equivalent) followed by an approximately 20-month-long effusive phase that erupted about 0.8 km3 of high-silica rhyolite lava that formed a new dome within the volcano's caldera. Prior to its eruption, little was known about the eruptive history of the volcano or the hazards it posed to society. This edition of Andean Geology contains a selection of papers that discuss new insights on the eruptive history of Chaitén Volcano, and the broad impacts of and new insights obtained from analyses of the 2008-2009 eruption. Here, we summarize the geographic, tectonic, and climatic setting of Chaitén Volcano and the pre-2008 state of knowledge of its eruptive history to provide context for the papers in this edition, and we provide a revised chronology of the 2008-2009 eruption. Source

Denlinger R.P.,Cascades Volcano Observatory | Moran S.C.,U.S. Geological Survey
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth | Year: 2014

On 2 October 2004, a significant noneruptive tremor episode occurred during the buildup to the 2004-2008 eruption of Mount St. Helens (Washington). This episode was remarkable both because no explosion followed, and because seismicity abruptly stopped following the episode. This sequence motivated us to consider a model for volcanic tremor that does not involve energetic gas release from magma but does involve movement of conduit magma through extension on its way toward the surface. We found that the tremor signal was composed entirely of Love and Rayleigh waves and that its spectral bandwidth increased and decreased with signal amplitude, with broader bandwidth signals containing both higher and lower frequencies. Our modeling results demonstrate that the forces giving rise to this tremor were largely normal to conduit walls, generating hybrid head waves along conduit walls that are coupled to internally reflected waves. Together these form a crucial part of conduit resonance, giving tremor wavefields that are largely a function of waveguide geometry and velocity. We find that the mechanism of tremor generation fundamentally masks the nature of the seismogenic source giving rise to resonance. Thus multiple models can be invoked to explain volcanic tremor, requiring that information from other sources (such as visual observations, geodesy, geology, and gas geochemistry) be used to constrain source models. With concurrent GPS and field data supporting rapid rise of magma, we infer that tremor resulted from drag of nearly solid magma along rough conduit walls as magma was forced toward the surface. Source

Lara L.E.,Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria | Moreno R.,Adolfo Ibanez University | Amigo A.,Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria | Hoblitt R.P.,Cascades Volcano Observatory | Pierson T.C.,Cascades Volcano Observatory
Andean Geology | Year: 2013

Prior to May 2008, it was thought that the last eruption of Chaitén Volcano occurred more than 5,000 years ago, a rather long quiescent period for a volcano in such an active arc segment. However, increasingly more Holocene eruptions are being identified. This article presents both geological and historical evidence for late Holocene eruptive activity in the 17th century (AD 1625-1658), which included an explosive rhyolitic eruption that produced pumice ash fallout east of the volcano and caused channel aggradation in the Chaitén River. The extents of tephra fall and channel aggradation were similar to those of May 2008. Fine ash, pumice and obsidian fragments in the pre-2008 deposits are unequivocally derived from Chaitén Volcano. This finding has important implications for hazards assessment in the area and suggests the eruptive frequency and magnitude should be more thoroughly studied. Source

Pallister J.S.,Cascades Volcano Observatory | Diefenbach A.K.,Cascades Volcano Observatory | Burton W.C.,12201 Sunrise Valley Drive | Munoz J.,Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria | And 4 more authors.
Andean Geology | Year: 2013

We use geologic field mapping and sampling, photogrammetric analysis of oblique aerial photographs, and digital elevation models to document the 2008-2009 eruptive sequence at Chaitén Volcano and to estimate volumes and effusion rates for the lava dome. We also present geochemical and petrologic data that contribute to understanding the source of the rhyolite and its unusually rapid effusion rates. The eruption consisted of five major phases: 1. An explosive phase (1-11 May 2008); 2. A transitional phase (11-31 May 2008) in which low-altitude tephra columns and simultaneous lava extrusion took place; 3. An exogenous lava flow phase (June-September 2008); 4. A spine extrusion and endogenous growth phase (October 2008-February 2009); and 5. A mainly endogenous growth phase that began after the collapse of a prominent Peléean spine on 19 February 2009 and continued until the end of the eruption (late 2009 or possibly earliest 2010). The 2008-2009 rhyolite lava dome has a total volume of approximately 0.8 km3. The effusion rate averaged 66 m3s-1 during the first two weeks and averaged 45 m3s-1 for the first four months of the eruption, during which 0.5 km3 of rhyolite lava was erupted. These are among the highest rates measured world-wide for historical eruptions of silicic lava. Chaitén's 2008-2009 lava is phenocryst-poor obsidian and microcrystalline rhyolite with 75.3±0.3% SiO2. The lava was erupted at relatively high temperature and is remarkably similar in composition and petrography to Chaitén's pre-historic rhyolite. The rhyolite's normative composition plots close to that of low pressure (100-200 MPa) minimum melts in the granite system, consistent with estimates of approximately 5 to 10 km source depths based on phase equilibria and geodetic studies. Calcic plagioclase, magnesian orthopyroxene and aluminous amphibole among the sparse phenocrysts suggest derivation of the rhyolite by melt extraction from a more mafic magmatic mush. High temperature and relatively low viscosity enabled rapid magma ascent and high effusion rates during the dome-forming phases of the 2008-2009 eruption. Source

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