Melimoyu Volcano: Melimoyu National Park (Chile)

Melimoyu Volcano: Melimoyu National Park (Chile)

Sun, 01/23/2022 - 13:55
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Melimoyu is a stratovolcano located in the Aysén Region in southern Chile. The Melimoyu National Park is bordered by the Gulf of Corcovado amidst a labyrinth of channels and fjords. Its rivers, dense mixed forests and marine waters foster a rich, biodiverse ecosystem.

Melimoyu Volcano

Melimoyu is a stratovolcano located in the northern part of the Aysén Region in southern Chile. The volcano is about 2,400 m (7,900 ft) high and 10 km (6.2 mi) long, with an elongated shape. There are four summits.

An ice cap has developed on the volcano. In addition, there are seven glaciers on the mountain. Clockwise from the north they are named Glaciar Correntoso, Glaciar Melimoyu Este, Glaciar Marchant, Glaciar Melimoyu Sur, Glaciar Melimoyu Oeste, Glaciar Santo Domingo and Glaciar Anihue.

This volcano lies in the Southern Volcanic Zone where volcanic activity is a result of the subduction of the Nazca Plate beneath the South America Plate.

Melimoyu has not erupted in recent times but during the current Holocene Period, two large eruptions have taken place and ejected ash for large distances from the volcano.

Melimoyu National Park

Melimoyu National Park is a protected area of Chile, located in the Aysén Region. The protected area covers approximately 104,500 ha (258,000 acres).

Dominated by the Melimoyu Volcano, the park is bordered by the Gulf of Corcovado in the north, the Moraleda Channel in the west and the Jacaf Channel in the south. The protected area also includes much of Refugio Island.

The park is surrounded by the labyrinthian landscape of channels, fjords and islands of the gulf area. The many rivers and streams that flow through the parkland bring organic material to the coasts which fosters a rich, biodiverse ecosystem. The climate is rainy and temperate.

Much of the park is only accessible by sea and the park itself has no infrastructure. It is currently not open to the public.

Melimoyu National Park is part of Chile's scenic 2,800-km (1,700-mi) "Route of Parks of Patagonia" that stretches from Puerto Montt in the north to Cape Horn in the south. Spanning 17 national parks, the Route of Parks encompasses one-third of Chile and protects over 11.8 million hectares (28 million acres).

Melimoyu National Park stems from an agreement signed between the Chilean government and Tompkins Conservation in March 2017. It establishes the creation of five new national parks:

and the extension of three others:

Route of Parks map

Chile's Route of Parks map - Thompson Conservation

Melimoyu National Park and its buffer zone are surrounded by Corcovado National Park, Queulat National Park and Isla Magdalena National Park, as well as the Pitipalena Añihué Marine Protected Area.

The ecosystem in the park area consists of large dense forests with mixed species from the Valdivian temperate rain forest and the temperate resinous forests. The forests extend inland from the coast, except at the highest elevations. Species include Ciprés de la Guaitecas (Pilgerodendron), Tepú, lenga beech, Coigue, mañío and Magellan's beech.

Fauna includes a variety of species that include: Darwin’s Frog, Puma, Fox, Pudú Deer and a vast number of species of birds. Marine life includes the Chilean Dolphin, the Peale’s Dolphin, Humpback Whale and Blue Whale, as well as various penguins, seals and sea lions.