Volcano Erupts in Chile

by Victoria M. Johnson

The eruption of the Puyehue-Cordon-Caulle volcano chain has prompted the mass evacuation of thousands of residents in southern Chile. Located about 500 miles south of the capital, Santiago, the eruption has spewed volumes of smoke and ash. So far no lava flows have been observed.

Chile Volcano Eruption

As the strong smell of sulfur filled the air, officials said the volcano was spitting molten rock. Witnesses reported experiencing more than 20 earthquakes. No injuries have been reported.

“The Cordon Caulle (volcanic range) has entered an eruptive process, with an explosion resulting in a 10-kilometer-high gas column,” Chilean state emergency office ONEMI said. According to MSNBC, it was not immediately clear which of the chain’s four volcanoes had erupted because of ash cover and weather conditions.

The chain last saw a major eruption in 1960. Chile’s chain of about 2,000 volcanoes is the world’s second largest after Indonesia. Some 50 to 60 are on record as having erupted. Chile’s Chaiten volcano erupted in 2008 for the first time in thousands of years. Chile’s Llaima volcano, one of South America’s most active, erupted in 2008 and 2009.

June 05 2011 01:34 pm | Volcanoes

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