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  • Station or cluster: Contributing Station
  • WMO ID (if any):
  • Shape: polygon
  • Latitude, longitude: -39.94, -72.02
  • Altitude and/or range (m): 1340-2420
  • Landscape: Coastal
  • Year established: 2003
  • Year-round? Yes
  • Operations contact: José Luis Rodríguez
  • Science contact: Gino Casassa
  • Data contact: Gino Casassa
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Mocho-Choshuenco Volcano
Contributing Station Information

The Mocho-Choshuenco Volcano, located at 40ºS in the Lake District of Chile, has two different cones, Mocho and Choshuenco. The volcano last erupted in 1864 but is geologically active, being close to the major Liquiñe-Ofqui fault. Most of the summit zone of both cones is covered by a glacier area of 16.9 km2 in total. As is the case for most Andean glaciers, Mocho-Choshuenco's glaciers have retreated in the last decades.
The south-eastern side of the Mocho-Choshuenco Volcano is covered by a 5.1 km2 glacier which occupies a large caldera. With the collaboration of Huilo-Huilo Foundation a mass balance monitoring programme was started on this glacier in May 2003. The traditional stake method (12 stakes) is employed for monitoring the mass balance, distributed from an elevation of 1723 m a.s.l. to 2416 m a.s.l., a few metres below the summit. 2 AWSs and an automatic river gage station have been deployed.
High precipitation (5 m to 15 m of snow) is deposited during the winter on the glacier, originating from the westerly circulation. The summer is much drier, with relevant ablation due to high temperatures and solar radiation. A high interannual variability in mass balance has been detected. The glacier is temperate, with the presence of a water table at a depth of 5-10 m. Glacier-volcanic effects are potentially very relevant. Detailed glacier thickness data have allowed to model lahar risks.

Other Networks to Which This Contributing Station Belongs

Measurement Methods Used

Other relevant measurement method documents:

Cogley, J.G., Hock, R., Rasmussen, L.A., Arendt, A.A., Bauder, A., Braithwaite, R.J., Jansson, P., Kaser, G., Möller, M., Nicholson, L. and Zemp, M., 2010, Glossary of Glacier Mass Balance and Related Terms. IHP-VII Technical Documents in Hydrology No. 86, IACS Contribution No. 2, UNESCO-IHP, Paris. 114 pp.

Data Information


Bown, F., A. Rivera, C. Acuña & G. Casassa. 2007. Recent glacier mass balance calculations at Volcán Mocho-Choshuenco (40ºS), Chilean Lake District. IAHS Publ. 318, 143-152.
Rivera A., Bown F., Casassa G., Acuña C., Clavero J. 2005. Glacier shrinkage and negative mass balance in the Chilean Lake District (40°S). Hydrological Sciences Journal 50(6): 963-974.
Rivera, A., F. Bown, R. Mella, J. Wendt, G. Casassa, C. Acuña, E. Rignot, J. Clavero, B. Brock. 2006. Ice volumetric changes on active volcanoes in southern Chile. Annals of Glaciology, 43, 111-122.
Santibañez, P., S. Kohshima, R. Scheihing, J. Jaramillo, T. Shiraiwa, S. Matoba, H. Kanda, P. Labarca & G. Casassa. 2008. Glacier mass balance interpreted from biological analyses of firn cores in the Chilean Lake District. Journal of Glaciology, 54(186), 452-462.
Santibáñez, P.A., S. Kohshima, R. Scheihing, R. Silva, J.I. Jaramillo, P.J. Labarca and G. Casassa. 2011. First Record of Testate Amoebae on Glaciers and Description of a New Species Puytoracia jenswendti nov. sp. (Rhizaria, Euglyphida). Acta Protozool. 50, 1-14.


The measurements made at Mocho-Choshuenco Volcano are listed in the following tables. (Note: If End Year is blank, measurements are ongoing.)

Cryosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year Frequency
GlacierAnnual mass balance2003Continuous
GlacierWinter mass balance2003Continuous
GlacierGlacial discharge2014Continuous
GlacierSurface topography1961Sporadic
GlacierFacies, snowline2003Continuous
GlacierSurface temperature2003Continuous
GlacierSurface albedo20062006Fragmented
GlacierIce/firn temperature2003Sporadic

Atmosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year Frequency
MetAir temperature2006
MetWind speed and direction2006
RadiationDownwelling shortwave2006Continuous
RadiationUpwelling shortwave2006Continuous
RadiationDownwelling longwave2006Continuous
RadiationUpwelling longwave2006Continuous

Measurement Notes and Other Measurements

Category Description or List
Glacier10 m firn cores have been collected at an elevation of 2000 m and 2420 m, characterizing the chemistry and biology.
AtmosphereNet short wave and long wave net radiometer (Kipp & Zonen NR Lite).

Downwelling short wave radiation (Kipp & Zonen SP Lite).

HydrologyWater level measurements with a pressure gage and data logger in an eastern stream originated at the glacier, altitude 1340 m. Several runoff measurements allow to convert water level to runoff.
OtherTwo seismic stations exist at 1600 and 1900 m elevation, operated by Chile's Geological Survey, for monitoring volcanic activity, connected in real time as part of an early warning system.

Last updated: 18 March 2021