Chilean volcano grounds flights, coats ski slopes

An erupting Chilean volcano sent a towering plume of ash across South America on yesterday, forcing thousands from their homes, grounding airline flights in southern Argentina and coating ski resorts with a gritty layer of dust instead of snow.

Booming explosions echoed across the Andes as toxic gases belched up from a three-mile-long (five-kilometer long) fissure in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic complex — a ridge between two craters just west of the Chilean-Argentine border that began erupting Saturday.

Winds blew a six-mile-high (10-kilometer-high) cloud of ash all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and even into southern Buenos Aires province, hundreds of miles to the northeast.

Authorities in Chile went house to house, trying to persuade stragglers near the volcano to leave because of an increasing danger of toxic gas and flash floods. More 3,500 people were evacuated from 22 communities as swarms of earthquakes Saturday heralded the eruption and hundreds more fled yesterday to shelters farther away.

Read more at Philippine Star


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