Spatial analysis of the impacts of the Chaitén volcano eruption (Chile) in three fluvial systems

Ulloa, H., Iroumé, A., Picco, L., Mohr, C.H., Mazzorana, B., Lenzi, M.A. and Mao, Luca (2016) Spatial analysis of the impacts of the Chaitén volcano eruption (Chile) in three fluvial systems. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 69 . ISSN 08959811

Full content URL: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsames.2016.04.008

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Abstract

The eruption of the Chaitén volcano in May 2008 generated morphological and ecological disturbances in adjacent river basins, and the magnitude of these disturbances depended on the type of dominant volcanic process affecting each of them. The aim of this study is to analyse the morphological changes in different periods in river segments of the Blanco, El Amarillo and Rayas river basins located near the Chaitén volcano. These basins suffered disturbances of different intensity and spatial distribution caused by tephra fall, dome collapses and pyroclastic density currents that damaged hillslope forests, widened channels and destroyed island and floodplain vegetation. Changes continued to occur in the fluvial systems in the years following the eruption, as a consequence of the geomorphic processes indirectly induced by the eruption. Channel changes were analyzed by comparing remote images of pre and post-eruption conditions. Two periods were considered: the first from 2008 to 2009-2010 associated with the explosive and effusive phases of the eruption and the second that correspond to the post-eruption stage from 2009-2010 to 2013. Following the first phases channel segments widened 91% (38 m/yr), 6% (7 m/yr) and 7% (22 m/yr) for Blanco, Rayas and El Amarillo Rivers, respectively, compared to pre-eruption condition. In the second period, channel segments additionally widened 42% (8 m/yr), 2% (2 m/yr) and 5% (4 m/yr) for Blanco, Rayas and El Amarillo Rivers, respectively. In the Blanco River 62 and 82% of the islands disappeared in the first and second period, respectively, which is 6-8 times higher than in the El Amarillo approximately twice the Rayas. Sinuosity increased after the eruption only in the Blanco River but the three study channels showed a high braiding intensity mainly during the first post-eruption period. The major disturbances occurred during the eruptive and effusive phases of Chaitén volcano, and the intensity of these disturbances reflects the magnitude of the dominant volcanic processes affecting each basin. Inputs of sediment from dome collapses and pyroclastic density currents and not ash fall seem to explain morphologic channel change magnitudes in the study segments. The resulting knowledge can facilitate land use planning and design of river restoration projects in areas affected by volcanic eruptions disturbances.

Keywords:Chaitén volcano, Changes in fluvial systems, Chile, Island, Riparian vegetation, Volcanic disturbances
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F820 Geomorphology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
ID Code:32702
Deposited On:25 Jul 2018 09:50

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