Guest Videos: Why Are There Volcanoes in South America?

The excellent visuals in this video show that the western coast of South America is a subduction zone, just like the coast of Sumatra where the Barisan Mountains rise.

In the New World, the mountain range just inland from the trench is called the Andes.

Today, we’re just going to take a quick overview of the region.

Some of the best minds on the planet are still studying that 1932 eruption and its source.

Volcano monitoring online:

OVDAS, the Southern Andean Volcano Observatory, is part of Chile’s National Volcano Surveillance Network (Spanish).

Other South American countries have online volcano monitoring websites, too:

There are plenty of volcanoes to the north, too, in Central and North America, but we’re going to stay focused on South America for the next few weeks because that’s where the cat family has led us.

South American supervolcanoes:

Today’s active South American volcanoes are “ordinary” (i.e., non-super) . . .

An ordinary volcanic eruption, like this one at Chile’s Chaiten in 2008, deserves lots of respect.

. . . but the Andes range does have an ultraviolent past.

During “Supereruption September,” we’ll take a look at the largest known eruptions in South American history, starting next Sunday with a Miocene-age Chilean supervolcano — La Pacana, near the Bolivian border — and its 4-million-year-old M8.8 eruption of the Atana Ignimbrite.

Featured image: Claudio Co-Bar, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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