Calbuco (volcano)

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Calbuco 11 Feb 2010 zoomed in.jpg
Calbuco viewed from the north alongside Road 225 on the shores of Llanquihue Lake. (February 11, 2010)
Highest point
Elevation 2,015 m (6,611 ft) [1]
Prominence 1,946 m (6,385 ft) [1]
Listing Ultra
Coordinates 41°19′48″S 72°37′06″W / 41.33000°S 72.61833°W / -41.33000; -72.61833Coordinates: 41°19′48″S 72°37′06″W / 41.33000°S 72.61833°W / -41.33000; -72.61833[1]
Calbuco is located in Chile
Location Los Lagos, Chile
Parent range Andes
Age of rock Pleistocene
Mountain type Stratovolcano
Volcanic arc/belt South Volcanic Zone
Last eruption April 2015

Calbuco (kahl-BOO-koh; Spanish: Volcán Calbuco, pronounced: [bolˈkaŋ kalˈβuko]) is a stratovolcano in southern Chile, located southeast of Llanquihue Lake and northwest of Chapo Lake, in the Los Lagos Region, and close to the cities of Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt. With an elevation of 2,015 meters above sea level, the volcano and the surrounding area are protected within the Llanquihue National Reserve.

The most recent eruption happened on April 22, 2015, followed by two smaller eruptions on April 24 and April 30. This was Calbuco's first activity since 1972.[2][3][4]

Name and location[edit]

Calbuco is located partly in Puerto Varas Commune and partly in Puerto Montt Commune. It lies 49 km from the city of Puerto Varas and 69 km from Puerto Montt. Its name is thought to come from the Mapuche words "kallfü" (blue) and "ko" (water), meaning "blue water".[5] It shares the name with Calbuco Island in nearby Reloncaví Sound as well as the city and commune of Calbuco, although it is not located there.


Calbuco is a very explosive andesite volcano whose lavas usually contain 55 to 60% silicon dioxide (SiO2).[6] It is elongated in a SW-NE direction and is capped by a 400-500 meter wide summit crater. Its complex evolution included the collapse of an intermediate edifice during the late Pleistocene that produced a debris avalanche that reached Llanquihue Lake.[7]

Volcanic activity[edit]

Satellite image of the plume during the 2015 eruption.

Calbuco has had 36 confirmed eruptions during the Holocene, 13 of which have been recorded in historical times. 20th century eruptions took place in 1906, 1907, 1909, 1911, 1917, 1929, 1932, 1945, 1961, and 1972. A series of three eruptions occurred from April 22–30, 2015.[8]

The 1893-4 Calbuco eruption was one of the largest ever to take place in southern Chile, with debris ejected to distances of eight kilometres, accompanied by voluminous hot lahars. In the strong explosions of April 1917, a lava dome formed in the crater accompanied by hot lahars. Another short explosive eruption in January 1929 also included an apparent pyroclastic flow and a lava flow.

The major eruption of 1961 sent ash columns 12–15 km high, produced plumes that dispersed mainly to the south east and emitted two lava flows. There was a minor, four-hour eruption on August 26, 1972. Strong fumarolic emission from the main crater was observed on August 12, 1996.[7]

2015 eruption[edit]

Calbuco erupted on April 22, 2015, after just one hour of warning in the form of volcanic earthquakes,[9] for the first time in four decades.[10] The eruption lasted 90 minutes and sent a plume of volcanic ash 10 km into the sky.[10] A flow of lava was reported into Chapo Lake on the same day. The eruption caused airline flight cancellations to Chile as well as Argentina and Uruguay. Authorities evacuated 4,000 people[11] from a zone with a 20 km radius from the volcano.[12]

Further eruptions took place on April 23 and April 30, 2015. Experts have warned about the possibility of acid rain and lahars. On May 5, 2015, the Chilean government reported that tourist activity in the area had returned to "routine" levels.[13]

On August 18, 2015, the volcano's alert level was lowered back to Green (Normal).[14]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c "Argentina and Chile: Central Ultra-Prominences". Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  2. ^ "Chile's Calbuco volcano erupts". The Guardian. April 22, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Calbuco Volcano: second eruption leaves towns and villages covered in thick blankets of dust". The Daily Mirror. April 24, 2015. Retrieved May 6, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Chile's Calbuco volcano erupts again". The Guardian. April 30, 2015. Retrieved May 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ Calbuco: Aguas Azules, retrieved May 6, 2015
  6. ^ Calbuco Volcano - Latest Activity Reports Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program, retrieved May 6, 2015
  7. ^ a b Calbuco Volcano - Background Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program, retrieved May 6, 2015
  8. ^ "Eruptive History of Calbuco". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 4 January 2016. 
  9. ^ Kuhn Sennert, Sally. "Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Calbuco (Chile), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22-28 April 2015.". Smithsonian Institution and USGS. Retrieved 22 December 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "Calbuco volcano blankets towns in Chile with ash". BBC News. April 24, 2015. Retrieved April 24, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Evacuation as Calbuco volcano erupts in Chile". BBC News. Retrieved April 24, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Volcano erupts in southern Chile, belching ash, smoke into sky". Yahoo! News Canada. Retrieved April 24, 2015. 
  13. ^ Chile Tourist Areas Returned To Routine Activity Following Calbuco Eruption, May 5, 2015, retrieved May 6, 2015
  14. ^ Kuhn Sennert, Sally. "Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Calbuco (Chile), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 19-25 August 2015.". Smithsonian Institution and USGS. Retrieved 22 December 2015. 


External links[edit]

Videos 2015 Eruption