Copahue

Photo of this volcano
Google Earth icon
Google Earth Placemark
  • Country
  • Subregion Name
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 37.856°S
  • 71.183°W

  • 2953 m
    9686 ft

  • 357090
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

2 April-8 April 2014

On 4 April OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that activity at Copahue continued to fluctuate at an elevated level however did not indicate an impending eruption. The Alert Level was lowered to Yellow.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)



 Available Weekly Reports


2014: March | April
2013: January | March | May | June | November
2012: December


2 April-8 April 2014

On 4 April OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that activity at Copahue continued to fluctuate at an elevated level however did not indicate an impending eruption. The Alert Level was lowered to Yellow.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)


26 March-1 April 2014

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that cameras installed around Copahue recorded white gas plumes rising 100-600 m above the crater during 25-29 March; clouds prevented observations on 30 March. Sulfur dioxide measurements in tons per day were 270 on 26 March, 1,400 on 27 March, 2,000 on 28 March, 1,400 on 29 March, and 920 on 30 March. The Alert Level remained at Orange.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)


19 March-25 March 2014

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that a gradual increase of volcanic tremor was detected at Copahue starting at 0230 on 20 March; from 0230 to 1100 the signal fluctuated and intense periods lasted up to 3 hours. Cameras showed minimal activity at the surface while concentrations of sulfur dioxide increased. The Alert Level was raised to Orange. Residents and visitors were prohibited within a 3-km radius of the active crater. During 21-24 March gas plumes rose at most 500 m and drifted E. Seismicity continued to increase.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)


20 November-26 November 2013

Based on satellite images, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that on 21 November a 5-km-wide steam plume possibly containing ash extended over 35 km SE of Copahue. A few hours later the webcam recorded a possible ash plume drifting SE at low altitudes.

Source: Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


13 November-19 November 2013

Based on ODVAS webcam views and satellite images, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that on 15 November a low-level diffuse plume from Copahue drifted almost 40 km NW. Later that night a thermal anomaly was detected by satellite and light from a full moon allowed webcam views of a possible ash emission. The next day steam-and-gas emissions were observed with the webcam. The Alert Level remained at Yellow.

Source: Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


6 November-12 November 2013

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 16-31 October the webcam installed 18 km SW of Copahue recorded steady fumarolic activity from Del Agrio Crater, which produced plumes that rose 1.8 km above the crater rim. On 28 October the plume changed color, suggesting ash content, and was accompanied by a small explosion recorded at 1252. The Alert Level remained at Yellow.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)


19 June-25 June 2013

Based on web camera views, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that on 26 June steam-and-gas emissions from Copahue possibly contained ash. Ash was not detected in clear satellite images.

Source: Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


12 June-18 June 2013

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 11-12 June seismicity at Copahue had significantly decreased with respect to the previous 24-hour period; the majority of the signals were low-magnitude hybrid events, detected at an average rate of one per hour. White plumes recorded by a web camera rose at most 100 m and drifted E. Seismicity remained low during 12-13 June; an average of one event per hour continued to be detected. Meteorological cloud cover prevented views of the crater. The Alert Level remained at Orange.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)


5 June-11 June 2013

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 4-11 June white plumes recorded by a web camera rose at most 200 m above Copahue and drifted N and E. During 4-5 June seismicity had decreased with respect to the previous 24-hour period; the majority of the signals were low-magnitude hybrid events, detected at an average rate of 42 per hour. During 5-6 June seismicity was similar to the previous period, with an average of 50 events per hour being detected. Seismicity increased during 6-7 June; an average of 84 events per hour was detected. During 7-8 June seismicity fluctuated with a high average of 124 events per hour then decreased to a low average of 8 events per hour; the overall average was 62 events per hour. Seismicity decreased during 8-9 June; only 5 events per hour were detected. On 9 June OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN scientists aboard an overflight to locate sites for the installation of three additional seismic stations observed fumaroles inside Del Agrio Crater, and gas emissions that rose at most 200 m and drifted NE. They noted that no lava dome was present. During 9-10 June the number of earthquakes increased to an average of 20 events per hour. The Alert Level remained at Orange.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)


29 May-4 June 2013

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 28-29 May seismicity at Copahue had decreased with respect to the previous 24-hour period; the majority of the signals were low-magnitude hybrid events, detected at an average rate of 127 per hour. Meteorological cloud cover prevented visual observations. During 29-30 May seismicity again decreased; earthquakes were detected at a rate of 40 events per hour. A camera near the volcano recorded a white plume that rose 100-200 m and drifted SE. The seismic network continued to record a downward trend during 30-31 May, with 120 events per hour detected during the night. By the time of the release of the report at 1700 on 31 May about 20 events per hour were being detected. Visual observations were again inhibited due to weather conditions. About 42 events per hour were recorded during 31 May-1 June, about 52 events per hour were detected during 1-2 June, and about 102 events per hour were detected during 2-3 June. A small plume rose 80 m above the crater during 2-3 June. ONEMI reported on 3 June that about 280 people, of 2,440 people, remained within the 25-km evacuation zone. That same day SERNAGEOMIN lowered the Alert Level to Orange.

Sources: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Oficina Nacional de Emergencia-Ministerio del Interior (ONEMI)


22 May-28 May 2013

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that a gradual increase of seismicity at Copahue had been detected since 15 May. A camera recorded periodic small explosions and corresponding ash emissions, along with nighttime incandescence. On 19 May satellite images detected increased sulfur dioxide emissions, which produced a plume that rose 300 m above the crater and drifted SE. Images from 20 and 22 May showed large plumes drifting 100 km SE that appeared translucent gray, suggesting a significant presence of volcanic gases. On 23 May the Alert Level was raised to Orange.

On 24 May cameras recorded white plumes that mostly rose 250-400 m; at 1900 a plume rose 1.9 km, and another drifted NE. Seismicity increased sharply during 24-25 May. The seismic network detected 8,556 low-magnitude earthquakes with an average of 356 events per hour, and a gap of a few seconds between events. Seismicity increased again during 25-26 May, with an average of 455 events per hour, and then decreased to 269 events per hour during 26-27 May. An explosion on 26 May generated crater incandescence and a plume that rose 400 m. Weather conditions often prevented views during 25-27 May.

On 27 May OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN noted that the intensity and type of seismicity observed in recent days, in conjunction with the deformation data, suggested the rise of a magmatic body to shallow depths. The Alert Level was raised to Red. According to ONEMI, the government ordered a precautionary evacuation of the 2,440 people living within a radius of 25 km. During 27-28 May seismic signals were detected at an average rate of 130 events per hour. Cloud cover prevented visual observations. ONEMI noted that 44 people had evacuated by 28 May.

Sources: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Oficina Nacional de Emergencia-Ministerio del Interior (ONEMI)


8 May-14 May 2013

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that an explosion from Copahue at 1015 on 7 May recorded by a webcam produced a gas, steam, and ash plume that rose 350 m and drifted SE. Incandescence from the crater was visible at night. The Alert Level was raised to Yellow.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)


27 March-2 April 2013

Based on analysis of satellite imagery and a pilot observation, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that on 28 March steam-and-gas emissions with small amounts of ash rose from Copahue.

Source: Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


30 January-5 February 2013

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 29 January-4 February the web camera near Copahue recorded white gas plumes rising 350-1,550 m above the crater and drifting E and SE. Seismicity fluctuated but mostly remained at low levels. The Alert Level was lowered to Yellow on 4 February.

The Buenos Aires VAAC noted that although a pilot reported an ash plume between the altitudes of 3-4.6 km (10,000-15,000 ft) a.s.l., no ash was detected in mostly clear satellite images. The VAAC also noted that steam with possible diffuse ash was recorded by the OVDAS webcam.

Sources: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


23 January-29 January 2013

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 22-28 January the web camera near Copahue recorded white gas plumes rising 100-800 m above the crater and drifting E and SE. Seismicity remained at low levels. An explosion at 2355 on 22 January produced a gas plume (with no ash) that rose 1.45 km above the crater. The Alert Level remained at Orange.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)


16 January-22 January 2013

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that the web camera near Copahue recorded white gas plumes rising 250-1,300 m above the crater during 15-18 January and drifting W and NW. Seismicity remained at low levels. The Alert Level was lowered from Orange to Yellow on 18 January.

A seismic swarm of long-period earthquakes started at 1420 on 22 January. The earthquakes were initially deep but became shallower, and volcano-tectonic events were more frequently detected, until the next report posted at 2200. Web camera and satellite images did not show any changes. The Alert Level was raised to Orange.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)


9 January-15 January 2013

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that the web camera near Copahue recorded white gas plumes rising 0.9-1.5 km above the crater during 9-15 January and drifting NNE, E, ESE, and SSE. Incandescence from the crater was observed on some nights. Satellite images showed plumes drifting 10 km E and SSE during 10-12 January. The Alert Level remained at Orange.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)


2 January-8 January 2013

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that seismicity at Copahue during 31 December, and 2 and 4-5 January indicated magma movement focused at 4 km below the crater and moving to shallower depths. On 5 January seismicity increased as well as gray emissions observed with a web camera. The Alert Level was raised to Orange. Incandescence on the crater was noted during 5-6 January, and plumes rose 200 m above the crater and drifted E during 5-7 January.

Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that on 2 January a diffuse gas-and-ash plume drifted 93 km NE and E. During 2-3 January web cameras near the volcano recorded steam-and-gas plumes drifting E and dissipating near the summit.

Sources: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN), Buenos Aires Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


26 December-1 January 2013

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 25-29 December white plumes observed with a web camera installed near Copahue rose 450-850 m and drifted NE and E. Plumes detected in satellite imagery drifting 16 km NE on 26 December. Incandescence from the crater was observed at night during 26-28 December; explosions were detected during 27-28 December. Seismicity had decreased during the reporting period. The Alert Level was lowered to Yellow on 29 December.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)


19 December-25 December 2012

OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported increased seismicity at Copahue on 22 December. Seismicity fluctuated but was high and indicated that emissions from what was thought to be a phreatic eruption varied between white gas and dark ash plumes. The plumes rose 1-1.5 km above the crater and were observed in satellite imagery drifting 400 km SE. The Alert Level was raised to Orange.

Scientists aboard an overflight observed a low plume rising 1.5 km above a vent in Del Agrio Crater, in the same area as the previous eruption in 2000, and drifting SE. The scientists noted that at 1600 the emissions changed from ash to gas. Later that day web cameras showed incandescence from the crater reflecting in the clouds. The Alert Level was raised to Red, and people within a 15-km-radius and along drainages were warned about potential increases in activity or lahars.

On 23 December incandescence from the crater increased with explosions, as high as 450 m. Strombolian activity ejected incandescent blocks, and mostly white plumes turned dark during explosions. The plumes rose 1 km and drifted SE. On 24 December seismicity decreased. The camera recorded crater incandescence which increased to heights of 200 m with explosions. Incandescent blocks were again ejected with Strombolian explosions. Plumes rose 300 m and drifted SE; they were mostly white, but turned dark with ash during explosions. The Alert Level was lowered to Orange. On 25 December seismicity decreased to low values and tremor was not detected. Cloud cover obscured web camera views. Diffuse plumes visible in satellite images drifted 70 km SE.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN)


Summary of eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
2012 Dec 22 2013 Jun 26 (continuing) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Del Agrio Crater
2000 Jul 1 2000 Oct 18 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Del Agrio crater
1995 Sep Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Del Agrio crater
1994 Dec Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Del Agrio crater
1992 Jul 22 1993 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Del Agrio crater
1961 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1960 Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations
1944 Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations
1937 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1867 (?) Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
[ 1759 (?) ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
1750 (?) Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
0250 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
6820 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)

The following references are the sources used for data regarding this volcano. References are linked directly to our volcano data file. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title. Additional discussion of data sources can be found under Volcano Data Criteria.

Bruggen J, 1950. Fundamentals of the Geology of Chile. Santiago: Editado por el Instituto Geografico Militar, p 1-374.

Casertano L, 1963a. Chilean Continent. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 15: 1-55.

Gonzalez-Ferran O, 1995. Volcanes de Chile. Santiago: Instituto Geografico Militar, 635 p.

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

Katsui Y (ed), 1971. List of the World Active Volcanoes. Volc Soc Japan draft ms, (limited circulation), 160 p.

Moreno H, 1974. Airplane flight over active volcanoes of central-south Chile. Internatl Symp Volc Andean & Antarctic Volc Problems Guidebook, Excur D-3, 56 p.

Moreno H, Naranjo J A, 1991. The southern Andes volcanoes (33°-41° 30' S), Chile. 6th Geol Cong Chile, Excur PC-3, 26 p.

Naranjo J A, Polanco E, 2004. The 2000 AD eruption of Copahue volcano, southern Andes. Rev Geol Chile, 31: 279-292.

Newhall C G, Dzurisin D, 1988. Historical unrest at large calderas of the world. U S Geol Surv Bull, 1855: 1108 p, 2 vol.

Varekamp J C, Maarten deMoor J, Merrill M D, Colvin A S, Goss A R, Vroon P Z, Hilton D R, 2006. Geochemistry and isotopic characteristics of the Caviahue-Copahue volcanic complex, province of Neuquen, Argentina. In: Kay S M, Ramos V A (eds) Evolution of an Andean margin: a tectonic and magmatic view from the Andes to the Neuquen Basin (35°-39° S lat), {Geol Soc Amer Spec Pap}, 407: 317-342.

Varekamp J C, Ouimette A P, Herman S W, Bermudez A, Delpino D, 2001. Hydrothermal element fluxes from Copahue, Argentina: a "beehive" volcano in turmoil. Geology, 29: 1059-1062.

Volcán Copahue is an elongated composite cone constructed along the Chile-Argentina border within the 6.5 x 8.5 km wide Trapa-Trapa caldera that formed between 0.6 and 0.4 million years ago near the NW margin of the 20 x 15 km Pliocene Caviahue (Del Agrio) caldera. The eastern summit crater, part of a 2-km-long, ENE-WSW line of nine craters, contains a briny, acidic 300-m-wide crater lake (also referred to as El Agrio or Del Agrio) and displays intense fumarolic activity. Acidic hot springs occur below the eastern outlet of the crater lake, contributing to the acidity of the Río Agrio, and another geothermal zone is located within Caviahue caldera about 7 km NE of the summit. Infrequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded at Copahue since the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions from the crater lake have ejected pyroclastic rocks and chilled liquid sulfur fragments.