Llaima Volcano, Chile

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Llaima volcano, Chile

volcano number: 1507-11= (according to Volcanoes of the World, 1994 edition)

summit elevation: 3125 m

location: 38.692°S, 71.729°W

Llaima is one of Chile's most active volcanoes, ranking second behind South America's most frequently active volcano, Villarrica, to the south. Like the latter, Llaima is characterized by the production of mostly basaltic rocks.

The volcano consists of a massive stratocone with a slightly smaller parasitic cone (Pichillaima) lying on its southern flank (see uppermost photo below). Most historical eruptions have occurred from the former but Pichillaima has been the site of eruptions in the late 1950's. The main cone is crowned by twin summit craters (second photo) of which the one on the SE side has been the more active in recent years (such as 1994).

1980 aerial view

Aerial view of Llaima from the northwest, taken by Werner Keller in 1980. The volcano has a large central cone and a slightly lower parasitic cone that has been the site of several historic eruptions (last in 1957?), visible to the right of the main cone. Smaller parasitic cone are also visible on the lower flanks in the foreground. The most recent eruption prior to this photograph occurred in November 1979.

Twin summit craters

View (by Werner Keller) of Llaima's twin summit craters from the air, in mid-1980 (Austral winter). The crater in the foreground is breached towards the NW flank; the far crater is complely filled with ice. This crater appears to be the source of most eruptions in recent years; the May 1994 event (see below) involved this crater. Site of 1979 eruption (the most recent one before this photo was taken) may also have been this crater.

1994 eruption

Spectacular aerial view of Llaima in eruption, 17 May 1994. The eruption occurs from the summit crater and a new fissure on the upper W flank where a line of lava fountains is visible. Fall of hot tephra and lava flowing over the volcano's ice cap cause lahars Photo taken from "Kölner Stadt Anzeiger" of 20 May 1994, courtesy of Deutsche Presse Agentur.

Llaima has erupted four times since early 1994: in mid-May and August-September 1994, late October 1995 and in mid-March 1996.

Page set up on 6 April 1996, last modified on 9 December 1996