Volcan Villarrica, Chile

Volcan Osorno, Volcan Lanin

 

tb

03-22-07 by  Falko Mueller, Michael Zeller, Th. Pusch, Th. Boeckel,

in deustch


        tb

Observing the lava jumping at the volcan Villarrica this report starts at first with the extreme contrasts of the Patagonia landscapes leaving behind the long way from the far southern situated city of Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego).

mz  tb

Icy tower blocks, the remainders of the calving glacier tongue of the Grey Glacier in the the National park Torres del Paines were gently hustled by the winds deep inside the forest surrounded bays of the Lago Grey. You'll get the lovely impression that this icy houses are moving with a damped scratching sound straight through the green forest.

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Deeply impressed from the Patagonia mountain and nature treasures like the "Cuernos" del Paines and Torres del Paines the nights were adorned by the southern Milky Way which appeared here in its greatest glamour. The clearness of the celestial arena let the Small an Big Magellanic clouds appear brightly like never before.

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And in case of this abnormal clearness and constanty best weather period, the seldom view to the bizarre shaped Cerro Torre and Fiz Roy counted to the most stunning views during our trekking tours.

Crossing the Argentinean – Chilean border near Puesco you’ll unescapeable get imposed by the Volcan Lanin with his height of 3776 meter osl. But the hot weather condition of the last weeks let the snowy cap appear rather poorly.  So the fascination was diverted to the Pehuen or Araucaria  trees which we have never seen before, and only at this place on earth. 

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The Arauncaria tree are pine- like conifers whose nuts have been a diatary staple for the Pehuenches and Mapuches indigienas.

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Volcan Villarrica, a 2,840 m high active strato volcano is situated in the Chilean region Araucanía near to Argentina. The closest cities are  Pucón, Villarrica at the lake Lago Villarrica.

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In a distance of 14 Km the glowing top could be seen in the night with the unaided eye. Up to 240 sec exposed images let the illumination get amplified.

Back to the Middle- Age the first outbrake was registered in the year 1558. The city of Villarrica was destroyed in 1575 by a heavy earthquake, whereby hundred of citizens died. 1640 and 1948 big volcanic events Took place. 1971 a Lahar (loosen mud and melted ice accompanied with hot lava) was sliding down to the 14 km distanced city of Pucón and destroyed one smaller side district part of  the city and several agricultural surfaces and bridges. In the last 500 years over 50 outbreaks were registered at this still active volcano.

The ascent

        

In the height of apprx. 2100 on the permanent snow fields normaly crampons should be used. In the higher elevations an steeper ice slopes to the upper crater crampons are really necessary, mainly in the morning hours and at cold days. In our case we didn't used it because the warm weather period changed the ice into a soft snow crust.

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Down from valley blown up beetle in an ice field on 2300m. According to the bad situated point this friend was fighting against every thing and every body.

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By hanging on the western situated yellow sulfurous edge, it was the only small place at this crater area to get a view inside the apprx. 90 meter deep vent with its black bottom and the glowing and splattering hole.

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Middle: Thorsten Puschs mummery against vulcanic gas attacks.

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 More or less nice activity details of the 25 Meter high outbursts got froozen from this point on the chip. I appreciated this seldom situation to get a nearly free view inside, a lot.

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Photographing along this very steep crater walls with their hot and acidly fumaroles (you have to stand between them) needs a good stand and a reliable balance.

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The intensive uprising gases together with the side standing sun made it really difficult to get a 100% clear view inside. It was really surprising how the telelenses could fight through the dull conditions.

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Destroyed cablecar from the lavaflows of 1971. Ash fields and ski-lifts at the volcano. Anyhow a little bit Mt. Etna atmosphere.

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This volcano notice explains were to go if the activity situation of the volcano get's serious. In our case we had a stabile green light Villarica condition. Notice: If you have yellow alert, the area is closed by the civil defense and it is may impossible to ascent the volcano.

Magic but true

Short after leaving the crater rim the white and dense water steam inside the vent increased strongly and a view to the ground was may impossible. After the descent the weather changed completely and in the evening  the volcano got a big cap.

This means following to a German - Chilean weather rule.

"If the volcano has a cap – the weather will get bad, but has it a hat - the weather get’s well."

And really it became true. The next days the observations weren’t impossible because of a wide dense cloud layer at the bordering area to Argentina.

 

 So we decided to leave Pucón to visit the great volcan Osorno.

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Morning impression of the volcan Osorno

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Chilean rodeo training

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Coastal fauna in all Patagonia and for our surprise also in the 41° Southern areas. Sea lions like in the Beagle canal at Ushuaia and Magellan penguins near Punta Arenas can be still observed in the new Reserva Costera Valdivia  near the Osorno coast.

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by  W. Keller · A. Koller · H. Bacher · V. Marfu

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 ©  2007 photos and text by Th. Boeckel (tb), photos by F.Müller (fm), M.Zeller (mz), T.Pusch (tp)

Last modification 12.5.2007