Big Plumes, Small Plumes in South America
2012 has been a fairly volcanically-quiet year (but that isn’t any excuse not to go and vote by 12/28 for the 2012 Pliny for Volcanic Event of the Year!) Case in point, many of us are so volcanically deprived that the eruption on December 22 of Copahue really seemed like a big event. It turned out to be a brief outburst, like a phreatic explosion (water-driven) according to the preliminary analysis from the SERNAGEOMIN, followed by very low level strombolian activity. However, check out the comparison of the Copahue plume (above) and the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle plume from June 6, 2011 (below), which turned out to be the opening salvo of a large magmatically-driven eruption. I’ve marked Embalse (Lago) los Barreales on both images to give you a sense of scale. All in all, it makes the Copahue eruption seem like small fry — but even small eruptions like Copahue can capture one’s imagination.
Happy Holidays to everyone from Eruptions!
Erik Klemetti is an assistant professor of Geosciences at Denison University. His passion in geology is volcanoes, and he has studied them all over the world. You can follow Erik on Twitter, where you'll get volcano news and the occasional baseball comment.
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