Puyehue volcano erupts in Chile
June 6th, 2011
02:24 PM ET

Thousands evacuate, ashes spread after Chilean volcano erupts

Parts of southern Chile remained on red alert and schools in some areas of neighboring Argentina were closed Monday after a volcanic eruption coated the countryside with ashes, authorities said.

Smoke and ash shot more than six miles into the the sky when the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano complex in southern Chile first erupted Saturday afternoon. Authorities evacuated about 3,500 people from the area, the state emergency office said.

"I ask all the population (in designated areas) to evacuate as soon as possible, because ... human life could be at risk," said Juan Andres Varas, regional governor of Los Rios, Chile.

In a statement posted on the Los Rios government's website Monday, he said volcanic material and potentially toxic gases were slowly advancing toward the nearby Nilahue Valley.

"Fortunately, the valley doesn't drop abruptly, so we have time to evacuate," he said.

Schools in some cities and rural areas in neighboring Argentina were closed Monday, even as the volcanic activity appeared to have diminished, the state-run Telam news agency said.

iReport: Puyehue volcano eruption

Eastward wind gusts have left a layer of ashes up to 30 centimeters (12 inches) on an Argentinian highway, Telam reported. Ashes had reached the country's Atlantic coast by early Sunday.

By Monday, several centimeters of ashes were beginning to accumulate in areas further north, and authorities told Telam the volcano's impact was difficult to predict.

"We still don't know, because it depends on the wind how it will continue. ... The recommendation to the population is that they stay inside," said Eduardo Munos, municipal civil defense director in Junin de los Andes, Argentina.

Chile is located on the so-called "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

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Filed under: Argentina • Chile • Volcano
soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. Elise

    I think 2012 is coming and it will be the end of life as we know it. I am taking that day off work to be with my family on the last day! My boss will have to work all by himself.!!!

    June 6, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • (insert name here)

      Well of course 2012 is coming. It is the year after 2011. But the world isn't going to end. They just said it was going to end may 27 but were still here...

      June 6, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fartstar

      You're taking the day of 2012 off? So when is this apocalypse supposed to happen exactly? like 12am, Jan 1, 2012? Better check, that might be a Friday night, you might not have to ask for the day off after all, or the year off...

      June 6, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Hi leeintulsa.

    June 6, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Elise

    They say it will be December 21st 1012.

    June 6, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. leeintulsa

    Doesn't matter, Chile does, brainiac lol The Strait of Magellan runs through Chile, and Cape Horn is off the coast of Chile. It's just as easy to get these things right..

    June 6, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Uh–did you mean 2012?

    June 6, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Elise

    yes, typo 2012 it is!!!

    June 6, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    The end of the world can't be on December 21.
    That's right before Christmas!

    June 6, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Wasn't christmas when he came the first time? Kinda makes sense, really lol hey, joey

      June 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. €Engleberthumperdink¥£

    The world will end in 9 billion years.

    June 6, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Archaeopteryx

      Actually the world will end in about 4 billion years when the sun goes nova. If that doesn't kill Earth, then our galaxy's collision with the Andromeda galaxy might do the trick. Of course, we'll both probably be dead by then.

      June 7, 2011 at 3:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Re the boss opening the office alone:
    "If you don't come in Dec. 21, don't come in Dec. 22."

    June 6, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Elise

    I hope it is not Dec21st. next year. I want to be with my family on that day. I was hoping to use it as an excuse to get a day off. My Boss is a smart guy. He won't buy that!

    June 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Sorry. I should have put a plural before that gerund.
    Today, on here, a fool criticized me for my English and for my ignorance.

    June 6, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Elise

    Joey – Good idea!! I 'll be in the unemployment line for sure!

    June 6, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Magic

    The world is not going to end, it may change, but it wont end.

    June 6, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    My world is ending for today, right now: early morning alarm clock.
    Good night, everybody.

    June 6, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Peter

    Hats off to the photographers or photographer... Great photo's. I've never seen these types of photos of volcano's? Really nice.

    June 6, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mearder

      Yeah specially picture # 4 and 5

      June 6, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • John R

      I was going to say the same thing about the same photos, and include the (apparent?) sunset color in picture 1. It's causing upheaval for people and nature, but is magnificent at the same time.

      June 6, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |

      The USGS and the Southern Andean Volcano Observatory (OVDAS) have issued a seismic warning for the areas of Cañete, Valdivia, Maule, and Temuco, regarding the eruption of Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex. The warning is related to historical eruptions that lead to seismic events and vice-versa.

      After the 1960 Valvidia Earthquake (the most intense earthquake in recorded history, 9.5 Richter Scale), Puyehue-Cordón Caulle began a rhyodacitic fissure eruption, with magnitude VEI-2 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index.

      June 6, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      i'd love to see high res versions of these

      June 6, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      I agree these are stunning photos

      June 6, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nubia

      Beautiful indeed. In pics only.

      June 6, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Choco monster

      Looks like the window view at a Chinese factory, minus the trees.

      June 7, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
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