Applied Geophysics

Villarrica volcano

The Villarrica is one of the most active volcanoes in Chile and in Southamerica. it is situated above the subduction of the Nazca plate under the Southamerican plate at 39.2°S.

Within the Collaborative Reseach Center "Fluids and Volatiles in Subduction zone" (SFB 574) several passive seismological experiments were conducted:

  • a regional seismic network consisting of 55 seismological stations between 39°C and 40°S from Dec. 2008 to Nov. 2009
  • 2 small monitoring networks around Villarrica and Llaima volcano consisting of 5 seismological stations in 2010 and 2011
  • a dense network around and on Villarrica volcano consisting of 75 mobile seismic stations for 2 week in March 2012.


Scientific targets are:

  • geometry and parametrisation of the subduction zone system and
  • the identifcation, characterisation of the seismic unrest of the Villariica volcano.



Y. Dzierma, H. Wehrmann (2010) Eruption time series statistically examined: probabilities of future eruptions at Villarrica and Llaima volcanoes, southern volcanic zone, Chile, J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 193, pp. 82-92

Y. Dzierma, M. Thorwart, W. Rabbel (2012) Moho topography and subducting oceanic slab of the Chilean continental margin in the maximum slip segment of the 1960 Mw 9.5 Valdivia (Chile) earthquake from P-receiver functions, Tectonophysics, 530/531, 20 March 2012, doi: 10.1016/ j.tecto.2011.12.016.

Y. Dzierma, W. Rabbel, M. Thorwart, I. Koulakov, H. Wehrmann, K. Hoernle, D. Comte (2012) Seismic velocity structure of the slab and continental plate in the region of the 1960 Valdivia (Chile) slip maximum - insights into fluid release and plate coupling, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 331–332, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2012.02.006

Y. Dzierma, M. Thorwart, W. Rabbel, C. Siegmund, D. Comte, K. Bataille, P. Iglesia, C. Prezzi (2012) Seismicity near the slip maximum of the 1960 Mw 9.5 Valdivia earthquake (Chile): Plate interface lock and reactivation of the subducted Valdivia Fracture Zone, J. Geophys. Res., 117, B06312, doi:10.1029/2011JB008914.

C. Mora-Stock, M. Thorwart, T. Wunderlich, S. Bredemeyer, T. Hansteen, W. Rabbel, (2014):Comparison of seismic activity for Llaima and Villarrica  volcanoes prior and after the Maule 2010 earthquake, International Journal of Earth Sciences, 1-14, doi: 10.1007/s00531-012-0840-x

M. Thorwart, Y. Dzierma, K. Liese, H. Buhs, W. Rabbel (2014), Shear-wave velocity structure of the Chilean subduction zone (39–40°S) based on Rayleigh wave dispersion: evidence of fluid release and melts in the mantle beneath the Villarrica volcano. in Geological Society, London, Special Publications: The Role of Volatiles in the Genesis, Evolution and Eruption of Arc Magmas, 410, doi: 10.1144/SP410.9

J. Lehr, F. Eckel, M. Thorwart & W. Rabbel ( 2019). Low‐frequency seismicity at Villarrica Volcano: Source location and seismic velocities. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 124, 11505–11530.