Thousands flee as volatile South American volcano threatens to erupt
Tuesday 28 May 2013
Chile and Argentina have evacuated a region near the Copahue volcano in the Andes on the border between the two countries, after fears intensified that it would erupt.
Both South American nations issued red alerts on Monday and put evacuation measures in place, with thousands leaving their homes.
Copahue is covered with glaciers and has around a dozen craters, one of which, “el Agrio” (the bitter one), has been spewing gas for months. The gases have diminished in the last few days but the seismic activity has increased – thousands of minor tremors have been registered in the last 48 hours – leading to the decision to evacuate.
“The situation is extremely complicated,” said Gonzalo Arroyo, regional director of ONEMI, the Chilean Home Office’s Emergency Office. “We’re talking about an up to 95 per cent chance of an eruption.”
Both countries have been quick to signal that the evacuation is a preventative measure. Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera called for calm when he announced on Monday that some 2,000 people located in a 15-mile radius of the volcano would have to leave.
This is not the first time that Copahue, towering at nearly 3,000m above sea level, has raised concerns. In December last year it began spewing ash that reached up to a mile in the sky, as well as lava.
There are some 3,000 volcanoes in the southern Andean mountain range, around 500 of them active. The last major Copahue eruption was in 1992.
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Baby rescued 1km out to sea after parents forgot about her
- 5 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly