Cordón Caulle 2013
A collection of images from a recent expedition to Cordón Caulle volcano in southern Chile. A spectacular eruption of rhyolite started here in June 2011, after a powerful tectonic earthquake, and led to months of explosive activity together with the effusion of large volumes of obsidian lava.

Efficient disaster management by Chilean scientists and authorities meant that thousands of local people were successfully evacuated and there were no fatalities. However prolonged explosive activity led to significant disruption to local communities from ashfall, especially over the Argentinian border, where much of the ash was carried by easterly winds.

The eruption provides the first opportunity for scientists to closely monitor an active obsidian flow, and is providing important insights into how eruptions can be simultaneously explosive (ash-producing) and effusive (lava-producing).

In January 2012 I visited the eruption site with colleagues Jon Castro (University of Mainz) and Ian Schipper (University of Wellington), during low-intensity explosive activity. We collected useful samples of pumice, ash, bombs and lava, together with images and videos of the advancing lava flow and explosions in the crater. My footage of the eruption featured on Volcano Live, broadcast in the UK by the BBC in July 2012:

A year later we were joined by Mike James (Lancaster University) and Anne-Marie Militzer (Mainz) in a return expedition. The objective was to more thoroughly sample lava and bombs, and to collect samples and images from the crater itself. Were we successful? Take a look at the photo gallery to see a brief story of the expedition.

My research is funded by the Royal Society and for more details see my website.
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