Melimoyu Volcano: Melimoyu National Park (Chile)

Melimoyu Volcano: Melimoyu National Park (Chile)

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Melimoyu is a stratovolcano located in the Aysén Region in southern Chile. The Gulf of Corcovado borders the Melimoyu National Park 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 results from the subduction of the Nazca Plate beneath the South America Plate.

Melimoyu has not erupted recently, but during the current Holocene Period, two significant eruptions have occurred and ejected ash for large distances from the volcano.

Melimoyu National Park

Melimoyu National Park is a protected area of Chile in the Aysén Region. The protected area covers approximately 104,500 ha (258,000 acres). The park marks the border between the temperate rainforest and the far north of the Patagonian subantarctic forest.

Corcovado National Park, Queulat National Park, Isla Magdalena National Park, and the Pitipalena Añihué Marine Protected Area surround Melimoyu National Park and its buffer zone.

The Melimoyu Volcano dominates the park. It 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 labyrinthian landscape of channels, fjords, and islands of the gulf area surrounds the park. The many rivers and streams that flow through the parkland bring organic material to the coasts, fostering a rich, biodiverse ecosystem. The climate is rainy and temperate. Much of the park is only accessible by sea and has no infrastructure. It is currently not open to the public.

History

Melimoyu National Park stems from an agreement signed between the Chilean government and Tompkins Conservation in 2018. It establishes the creation of five new national parks:

And the extension of three others:

Route of Parks

Melimoyu National Park is part of Chile's scenic 2,800 km (1,700 mi) "Route of Parks" that stretches from Puerto Montt in the north to Cape Horn in the south.

Spanning 17 national parks, the Route of Parks of Patagonia encompasses one-third of Chile and protects over 11.8 million hectares (28 million acres).

Route of Parks map

Chile's Route of Parks map - Thompson Conservation

Flora and Fauna

The ecosystem in the protected area consists of extensive dense forests with mixed species from the Valdivian 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, including Darwin's Frog, Puma, Fox, Pudú Deer, and many species of birds. Marine life includes the Chilean Dolphin, the Peale's Dolphin, the Humpback Whale, the Blue Whale, and various penguins, seals, and sea lions.