A team of six young researchers led by Yves Moussallam, a research fellow at Scripps Oceanography, visited a series of active volcanoes in Peru and Chile from late 2015 through early 2016 to better understand how volatile gases in the atmosphere and hydrosphere are recycled through Earth’s crust and mantle at subduction zones.
Chaitén was the southernmost volcano visited by the expedition. Its eruption in May 2008, forced the evacuation of the nearby town of Chaitén, changed the local coastline, and prompted the government of Chile to invest in a modern volcano-monitoring program.
“At the volcano itself, we found an ecosystem in transition and a gargantuan smoldering lava dome inside an even bigger caldera, “ the team reported on Trail by Fire. “A new forest is growing up in the midst of thousands of snags – blown down by the eruption in some places, standing in other.”
The expedition could not hike to the summit, but collected what gas samples it could both in person and using drones. The features stunning video of the high-altitude landscape.
- For more on the expedition, see the Trail by Fire website.
- For more about Chaitén, plus more photos and video, see the blog post.