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Volcano erupts in southern Chile

world Updated: Jun 06, 2011 00:43 IST
Associated Press

One of the volcanos in the Caulle Cordon of southern Chile erupted violently on Saturday, billowing smoke and ash high into the sky and prompting more than 3,500 people living nearby to evacuate. There were no reports of injuries.

Authorities initially said the Puyehue volcano was involved, but later said the eruption was occurring about 2½ miles (four km) from that peak. A rift more than 10-km-long and 5km across was torn in the earth’s crust, officials said on Saturday night.

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

Rodrigo Ubilla, Chile’s undersecretary of labour, said some people near the volcano had decided not to leave their homes because they didn’t want to abandon their animals.

Officials warned residents of the Bariloche area to take precautions against a possible prolonged ashfall. The eruption is nearly 1,000km south of Chile’s national capital, Santiago.