Copahue, Argentina and Chile

Location: 37.85S, 71.17W
Elevation: 9,728 ft (2,965 m)

Last Updated: 21 July 2000

Photo by Alfredo Ottonello, July 2000.

The Copahue Volcano is a stratovolcano with a composite cone situated on the central Argentine-Chilean border. The 8-km-wide caldera formed 0.6 million years ago near the NW margin of the Pliocene. The eastern summit crater contains a briny crater lake and displays intense fumarolic activity. Since the 18th century, infrequent explosive eruptions have been recorded. About 1,800 volcanoes are located on the Argentine-Chilean border. Approximately 28 of the volcanoes are considered active and represent about 20% of the Earth's active volcanoes.


21 July 2000

The recent eruptive activity at the Copahue Volcano is considered to be the strongest in the volcano's 10,000-year history. On 2 July, ash deposits 3-5 cm thick covered the village of Caviahue, which is located 16 km away from the volcano. Sulfur could be smelled in the area. Acidic lake waters of one of Copahue's nine craters has contaminated the freshwater river Rio Lomin. On 16 and 17 July, volcanic activity increased and explosions sent ash skyward to 300 m. Residents in the area surrounding Copahue have been put on hazardous alert. A yellow alert status is currently in effect.

This information was summarized from Smithsonian Institution's Preliminary Notices of Volcanic Activity.


14 July 2000

Photo by Alfredo Ottonello, July 2000.

On 12 July, the Copahue Volcano erupted sending ash and gases 1,500 feet into the air. According to Chile's National Emergency Office, no evacuations are necessary at the present time. The eruption was the worst in 25 years, but officials believe it is subsiding. After 5 years of silence, the volcano once again became active on 30 June. At that time, 3 cm of ash was deposited on the streets of the nearby town of Neuquen.

This information was summarized from Smithsonian Institution's Preliminary Notices of Volcanic Activity and from Discovery Online


Sources of Information:

Global Volcanism Network, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.



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