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PUYEHUE VOLCANO


CHILE –   Columns of smoke reached more than six miles from the crater of the Puyehue volcano.

The Puyehue volcano lies about 500 miles south of the capital, Santiago. Winds fanned the ash towards neighbouring Argentina over the skies in the ski resort city of San Carlos de Bariloche, which caused the local airport to close.

Smoke and ash into the sky and prompting officials to evacuate about 600 people living nearby. There were no reports of fatalities.

Authorities had put the area around the volcano on alert Saturday morning after a flurry of earthquakes, and the eruption began in the afternoon. The National Emergency Office said it recorded an average of 230 tremors an hour.

On the other side of the Andes in Argentina, heavy ash fell on the city of San Carlos de Bariloche.

Officials warned residents of the area around the city to take precautions against a possible prolonged ashfall. They urged people to stock up on food and water and to stay home

The governor of Chile’s Los Rios region said fire could be seen in the volcano’s crater and smoke was billowing into the sky.

The eruption prompted authorities to shut a heavily travelled border crossing with Argentina, but there have been no reports of injuries.

The Chilean government said it was evacuating 3,500 people from the surrounding area as a precaution.

Authorities put the area around the volcano on alert after a flurry of earthquakes. The National Emergency Office says it has recorded an average of 230 tremors an hour.

“The Cordon Caulle (volcanic range) has entered an eruptive process, with an explosion resulting in a 10-kilometre-high gas column,” state emergency office ONEMI said.

The chain of Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanos – of which there are four – last saw a major eruption in 1960.