On january 1st, 2008, the Llaima volcano had a brief, but quite violent eruption. I had the pleasure of watching it from my backyard! It started at around 18 hours, with a huge cloud carrying ash to above jet plane crusing altitude, and throwing pyroclastic material over the snow cover, causing a flash melt.
The volcano was about 3100 meters high before this eruption. It grew by about 100 meters during it. The base is about 1000 meters high. So, comparing the cone height to the cloud, you can estimate how high the smoke went!
Some low clouds blocked the view at some times, but overall I could see the eruption very well. This photo is from a while later, when the sun was close to setting.
After sunset, the incandescence of the rocks thrown out by the volcano became apparent. The sun is still illuminating the high part of the volcanic cloud.
Puffs of steam mark where large incandescent rocks have landed on snow.
Despite the fierce violence of a volcanic eruption, my place is quite safe from its effects, because of the geography (a deep valley in between), and the location relative to the volcano and to the predominant wind direction.
As the sky darkens and Venus appears, the volcano really starts shining! Here a lava bomb explodes a little bit above the crater, when it meets lower ambient pressure.
As the night gets darker, the volcano grows more impressive! By this time, evacuation of tourists and nearby residents was underway.
I spent up there on the summit of my little paradise, watching the volcano, until 1:00 in the night. The show went on and on. Some of the incandescent rocks flew to an altitude more than 800 meters above the crater.
However, the next day the volcano was dying down, and by the afternoon all easily visible activity had stopped.
I got countless worried calls and e-mails asking if I was alive and well. Thanks, friends! And don't worry, I'm close to the Llaima, but quite safe from it!
Back to Implementing my paradise.