Chile volcano Llaima erupts, prompts evacuations
Llaima, one of the largest and most active volcanoes in Chile, has erupted over the weekend. Dozens of people are reported to have been evacuated due to the risk of mud avalanches as lava melts the snow on the volcano. The ash that the volcano has sputed out is reported to have been blown in the direction of neighbouring Argentina. Volcano's first eruptions began on January 1, 2008 and have been sporadic ever since. More reports to follow.
Chile's Llaima volcano, one of South America's most active, belched ash 4 miles (7 km) into the sky that was blown towards neighboring Argentina in an intensifying eruption that prompted more evacuations.
Llaima, which is in Chile's picturesque lake region about 435 miles (700 km) south of the capital Santiago, began spitting lava in a fresh bout of activity on Friday night. It erupted fiercely on Jan. 1, 2008, and has expelled rock and ash sporadically since then.
State National Emergency Office ONEMI said a towering cloud of ash was being blown towards Argentina, extending 62 miles (100 km) southeast of the volcano.
"The volcano continues to permanently erupt with explosions, lava flows and ash," Helia Vargas, an official with the state National Emergency Office, told Reuters.
"More people were evacuated overnight because of the risk of mud avalanches as the lava melts snow on the volcano," she said. Lava was flowing down the volcano's sides in three directions for hundreds of meters (yards), Vargas said.
ONEMI said 71 people have been evacuated from the vicinity of volcano, which is surrounded by small towns and villages as well as the Conguillio national park.
Rains overnight and ash have swollen a river near the volcano and swept away a pedestrian bridge, but there were no immediate reports of other damage.
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, and 500 are potentially active.