Steam rises from the Villarrica volcano in Chile -

Steam rises from the Villarrica volcano in Chile

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Villarrica volcano in Chile, where steam and other gases are visible after a series of eruptions in recent months. 

“Located along Chile’s southern Andes, Villarrica is one of the most active volcanoes in South America. In the inset, steam is coming from Villarrica’s crater. A streak of ash is visible on the volcano’s snow-covered eastern flank,” says NASA.

“Chile’s National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin) reported daily, minor Strombolian explosions in January 2023, which have ejected glowing rock as high as 100 meters (330 feet) above the crater rim. An increase in earthquakes and sulfur dioxide emissions in late October and early November 2022 led to Sernageomin raising the alert level from green to yellow on November 8, 2022.”

NASA notes that low-level Strombolian activity – named after the Stromboli volcano in Italy – is common at Villarrica. 

“Strombolian eruptions are short, lasting minutes,” explains Francisco Delgado, a volcanologist at the University of Chile. “These small basaltic eruptions happen when a big bubble of water vapor fragments the lava. The fragments explode into the air and solidify as pyroclasts.”

According to NASA, Villarrica is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the southern Andes volcanic zone of Chile and Argentina, and typically erupts every three to six years. 

The image was captured from the International Space Station on January 17, 2023.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Editor

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