The 2011 Cordón Caulle eruption triggered by slip on the Liquiñe-Ofqui fault system - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Earth and Planetary Science Letters Year : 2022

The 2011 Cordón Caulle eruption triggered by slip on the Liquiñe-Ofqui fault system


Determining the mechanisms that promote large silicic eruptions is one of the biggest challenges in volcanic hazard assessment. The 2011-2012 Cordón-Caulle eruption in Chile was one of the largest silicic eruptions of the 21st century and was characterized by a rapid change from explosive to effusive behavior. This eruption was preceded by inflation from 2007 to 2009, followed by two years of barely any ground deformation. Despite intensive monitoring by geodetic and seismological data, its trigger remains undetermined. Here, we benefit from SAR imagery over the Puyehue Cordón-Caulle Volcanic Complex acquired by ALOS-1, ENVISAT and SENTINEL-1 data, to analyze the temporal and spatial behavior of ground displacements before, during and after the eruption. First, we find that a similar prolate spheroidal source explains the ground deformation for the pre-eruptive and post-eruptive periods. Then, we use 3D numerical elasto-plastic models to assess the failure conditions resulting from the pre-eruptive magma injection. Our results show that such a magma injection was too small to trigger the eruption. Therefore we explore other eruption triggers. Analytical elastic inversion models show that the ground displacements observed during the explosive phase may have been produced by slip motion along a NNW-striking dextral-strike slip, double-branch fault of the north-trending Liquiñe-Ofqui Fault System (LOFS), or along a single southern branch fault of the LOFS and collapse of the caldera. When investigating the elasto-plastic deformation pattern resulting from dextral slip along this branch-fault system, we obtain a sub-vertical dilatational plastic zone that connects the reservoir wall to the surface in a location that coincides with that of the 2011 eruption. Hence, we propose that this LOFS branch-fault eventually destabilized (perhaps weakened by the 2007-2009 episode of magma injection), and then slipped in a way that opened channels for fluid migration from the magma reservoir up to the surface.

Dates and versions

insu-03661484 , version 1 (06-05-2022)



C. Novoa, M. Gerbault, D. Remy, J. Cembrano, L. E. Lara, et al.. The 2011 Cordón Caulle eruption triggered by slip on the Liquiñe-Ofqui fault system. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2022, 583, ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2022.117386⟩. ⟨insu-03661484⟩
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