Volcanic ash affects Chile shortly after global trip

by Jessica MCILHINNEY on June 20, 2011

Ash from the volcanic eruption in Chile has finally disrupted domestic flights for the very first time, after having travelled around the world.

Puyehue-Cordon Caulle’s volcano began spewing ash into the planet’s atmosphere a fortnight ago, causing travel chaos across South American neighbours Argentinian, Uruguay, and parts of southern Brazil before then heading to Australia and New Zealand. Until Friday though, Chile remained relatively unscathed.

Chilean airline LAN had to cancel flights to a series of towns across the south of its country, including the likes of Puerto Montt and the ever-popular Punta Arenas. Thankfully now, most services have resumed but Chilean scientists monitoring progress that the volcano is making say that eruptions are continuing and will carry on for the forseeable future. One positive development though is that activity has diminished recently and is not as frequent as it was a fortnight ago.

For the time being though, the authorities in Chile are keeping their threat level in a state of “red alert”, although the government reduced the level of the threat from six to five on Friday. The country’s mining ministry was pleased to announce that the volcano was churning out at least 3 million cubic metres a day, compared with a staggering 30 times this amount when it began erupting.

Elsewhere on the continent, fall-out from the Chilean eruptions continues to have an effect on areas in Argentine Patagonia.

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