Update on Patagonia’s Hudson Volcano

Volcanic ash rising out of the Hudson Volcano on October 28th

Chile is no stranger to dramatic natural episodes; it was less than two years ago that we watched it survive one of the biggest earthquakes in its history. Last year, volcanoes in Argentine Patagonia made headlines.  Now there’s news about the ash currently rising out of the Hudson Volcano in Patagonia, about 250km from the future park.  The question is: how will this affect the dwellers and visitors of the Chacabuco Valley?

Chances are, very little, for two reasons. First of all, after threats of a larger eruption, the volcano appears to be settling down. Chilean authorities have been monitoring the area around the volcano closely for seismic activity and other signs of a larger eruption.  On Friday, Oct. 28th, ONEMI (the Ministry of Interior and Public Safety) ruled out the possibility of an “imminent larger eruption, and activity from Hudson has decreased over the weekend.”

Second, given the history of this particular volcano, the future park is not likely to be affected by a larger eruption, if one occurs. The Hudson Volcano’s most recent eruptions occurred twenty and forty years ago, and in each case, the Chacabuco Valley and surrounding area were virtually unaffected.

Aerial shot of a dormant Hudson Volcano. The large grey area is ash left over from its most recent plume.

One concern could be the possibility of an ash cloud moving directly southward.  However, the steady prevailing winds come from the southeast, so would carry ash even further from the park.  Currently, no ash has reached the park and it is likely that even larger clouds of ash would bypass the area entirely. Even the towns of Balmaceda and Coyhaique might very well remain untouched for the same reason.

As of November 1st, light aircraft flying in the area of the Hudson Volcano reported minimal ash and little disturbance around the area.

All this being said, the team at the Chacabuco Valley is on alert and ever-prepared. Our park superintendent Dago Guzman will remain in constant contact with local experts and will be receiving frequent updates as this story unfolds. So rest assured: the forecast for this summer says clear skies lie ahead.

The latest: a view of the Hudson Volcano on November 1st, taken by Kris Tompkins

1 Comment

Filed under Community, Ecosystem Restoration, Visiting the Park

One response to “Update on Patagonia’s Hudson Volcano

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