Bryan Lawrence : chaiten

Bryan Lawrence

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There's nothing like a big volcano to remind one of our precarious hold on planet earth. Thanks to James for drawing my attention to Chaiten, and the fabulous pictures, via: Alan Sullivan, nuestroclima and the NASA earth observatory.

Along with genetics1, volcanism was the other thing that could have kept me from physics ... neither quite made it :-).

Anyway, I'm not quite sure what sort of volcano it is, nor of the real import of the explosions thus far, but as a caldera type volcano it could be more impressive yet ... if it's even vaguely similar to Taupo. When I was a kid we grew up with stories of the 7m deep pyroclastic flow in Napier (a little over 100 km away).

1: you can read that phrase how you like :-) (ret).

Categories: environment

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Comments (1)

Alan Sullivan on Friday 09 May, 2008:

Thanks for the link. That's a big caldera. I've heard of it. New Zealand, I believe.

Pre-eruption Chaiten was just a small crater in hilly country. There was no mountain, nor was there any great watery hole. The crater, not properly a caldera, was less than a mile across, and mostly filled with a lava dome that probably formed after the last eruption.

In my first Chaiten post, I included a Landsat image of this very unimpressive feature. It formed about 9700 years ago. That may have been its first eruption. The fresh outbreak formed a new crater a short distance from the previous one. Yesterday's explosion merged the two craters into a much larger feature. Far worse may be coming.

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This page last modified Wednesday 07 May, 2008
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