The Calbuco volcano ranks third in the specific risk classification of volcanoes in Chile and has a detailed eruption record since 1853. During 2015, Calbuco had a sub-Plinian eruption with negative impacts in Chile and Argentina, highlighting the need to determine the long-term history of its activity at a high-resolution time scale to obtain a better understanding of its eruptive frequency. We developed a continuous eruptive record of Calbuco for the 1514–2016 period by dendrochemical analysis of Fitzroya cupressoides tree rings at a biennium resolution using inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry. After comparing the chemical record of 20 elements contained in tree rings with historical eruptions, one group exhibited positive anomalies during (Pb/Sn) and immediately after (Mo/P/Zn/Cu) eruptions, with a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) ≥ 3, and so were classified as chemical tracers of past eruptions (TPE). The tree-ring width chronology also exhibited significant decreases in tree growth associated with eruptions of VEI ≥ 3. According to these records, we identified 11 new eruptive events of Calbuco, extending its eruptive chronology back to the 16th century and determining a mean eruptive frequency of ~23 years. Our results show the potential to use dendrochemical analysis to infer past volcanic eruptions in Northern Patagonia. This information provides a long-term perspective for assessing eruptive history in Northern Patagonia, with implications for territorial planning.
- Fitzroya cupressoides
- Inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry
- Volcanic eruptions