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Chile Volcano Erupts

June 5, 2011 by staff 

Chile Volcano EruptsChile Volcano Erupts, Southern Chile volcano Puyehue erupted for the first time in half a century, prompting evacuation orders for 3,500 people and sent clouds of smoke into the sky, officials said. The National Service of Geology and Mining said the explosion that caused the eruption also produced a gas column of 10 kilometers (six miles) high hours after the warning of strong seismic activity in the area.

“You can see the fire (the volcano) and a column of smoke, and there is a strong smell of sulfur,” said the senior officer in the region of Los Rios Juan Andres Varas to the press.

The government, which earlier ordered the evacuation of 600 people, expanded that number to 3,500 people to be relocated to shelters in safe areas. Authorities issued a red alert, the alert level for the area.

A border crossing between Argentina and Chile was closed.

An ash cloud was visible in the Patagonian resort town of Bariloche in Argentina, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of the volcano.

“We are trying to stop car traffic and get people to stay home and shut their doors and windows to keep volcanic ash from coming in. The city’s airport was also closed,” said Carlos Hidalgo, communications secretary de Bariloche, TN television.

“Ash was dumped as a snow storm … The city is covered with gray ash.”

Nearby villages were also affected, said Hidalgo, whose city of 50,000 receives thousands of foreign tourists each year to its lakes and mountain scenery.

Puyehue is located 870 kilometers (540 miles) south of the capital, Santiago, Cord Caulle complex located in the Andes. Its last major eruption was in 1960, after an earthquake of magnitude 9.5.

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