International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 103, Issue 7, pp 2015–2028 | Cite as

Comparison of seismic activity for Llaima and Villarrica volcanoes prior to and after the Maule 2010 earthquake

  • Cindy Mora-Stock
  • Martin Thorwart
  • Tina Wunderlich
  • Stefan Bredemeyer
  • Thor H. Hansteen
  • Wolfgang Rabbel
Original Paper


Llaima and Villarrica are two of the most active volcanoes in the Chilean Southern Volcanic Zone and presently show contrasting types of activity. Llaima is a closed vent edifice with fumarolic activity, while Villarrica has an open vent with a lava lake, continuous degassing and tremor activity. This study is focused on characterizing the relationships between volcanic and seismic activity in the months before and after the 2010 M8.8 Maule earthquake, which was located in NNW direction from the volcanoes. Time series for tremors, long-period and volcano-tectonic events were obtained from the catalogue of the Volcanic Observatory of the Southern Andes (OVDAS) and from the SFB 574 temporary volcanic network. An increase in the amount of tremor activity, long-period events and degassing rates was observed at Villarrica weeks before the mainshock and continued at a high level also after it. This increase in activity is interpreted to be caused by enhanced magma influx at depth and may be unrelated to the Maule event. In Llaima, an increase in the volcano-tectonic activity was observed directly after the earthquake. The simultaneous post-earthquake activity at both volcanoes is consistent with a structural adjustment response. Since this enhanced activity lasted for more than a year, we suggest that it is related to a medium-term change in the static stress. Thus, the Maule earthquake may have affected both volcanoes, but did not trigger eruptions, from which we assume that none of the volcanoes were in a critical state.


Llaima volcano Villarrica volcano Volcano seismicity Maule earthquake Chile 



Part of the data used in this publication was collected and provided by the Observatorio Volcánico de los Andes del Sur–Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (OVDAS–SERNAGEOMIN), and all authors acknowledge both institutions for their collaboration. All authors acknowledge the SFB 574 “Volatiles and Fluids in Subduction Zones” for its funding. The first author is grateful to the Chilean National Council of Research, Science and Technology (CONICYT, acronym in Spanish) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD, acronym in German) and their funding programme BecasChile–DAAD for the grant that facilitates this research. All authors acknowledge the GIPP of the GFZ Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam for providing the short-period seismometers used for the SFB 574 project during the period November 2008 to April 2011. All authors appreciate the valuable comments and suggestions of two anonymous reviewers and the Topic Editor D. Völker that helped to improve this manuscript. All figures were drawn using the Generic Mapping Tools (GMT) software from Wessel and Smith (1991). This is contribution number 238 to Sonderforschungsbereich 574 “Volatiles and Fluids in Subduction Zones” at Kiel University, funded by the German Research Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cindy Mora-Stock
    • 1
  • Martin Thorwart
    • 1
  • Tina Wunderlich
    • 1
  • Stefan Bredemeyer
    • 2
  • Thor H. Hansteen
    • 2
  • Wolfgang Rabbel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für GeowissenschaftenChristian-Albrechts-UniversitätKielGermany
  2. 2.Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel (GEOMAR)KielGermany

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