Long Durational Natural Phenomenon

Existence of Puyehue-Cordón Caulle

Duration: 300,000 Years 

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Cover photograph CC BY-SA 3.0 Adam Matan

Puyehue and Cordón Caulle are two coalesced volcanic edifices that form a major mountain massif in Puyehue National Park in the Andes of Ranco Province, Chile. In volcanology, this group is known as the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle Volcanic Complex (PCCVC). Four different volcanoes constitute the volcanic group or complex, the Cordillera Nevada caldera, the Pliocene Mencheca volcano, Cordón Caulle fissure vents and the Puyehue stratovolcano.

Photograph CC BY 3.0 Ahith

The volcanic complex that comprises Puyehue, Cordón Caulle, and Cordillera Nevada has a long record of active history spanning from 300,000 years ago to the present. The older parts of the Cordillera Nevada caldera and Mencheca volcano reflect even older activity from the Pliocene or the early Pleistocene. In the past 300,000 years, there have been a series of changes in magmatic composition, locus of volcanic activity, magma output rates, and eruptive styles.

The volcanic complex has shaped the local landscape and produced a huge variety of volcanic landforms and products over the last 300,000 years. Cinder cones, lava domes, calderas and craters can be found in the area apart from the widest variety of volcanic rocks in all the Southern Zone,for example both primitive basalts and rhyolites. Cordón Caulle is notable for having erupted following the 1960 Valdivia earthquake, the largest recorded earthquake in history.

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