Jim Andrews

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Andean Volcano Erupts

December 26, 2012; 8:50 AM

The Copahue volcano has cut loose with a blast of ash and gas along the Chile-Argentina border.

The eruption began Saturday morning, prompting the Chilean government to hoist a red flag for the Biobio region, the BBC News website said.

Authorities in Argentina cautioned local residents.

NASA satellite images captured the trace of the ash cloud as it streamed east-southeastward over the Argentina desert.

Ash blasted aloft by the Copehue volcano trails down wind over the desert of Neuquen province, Argentina, on Dec. 22, 2012. (NASA Terra/MODIS)

The eruption of the 10,000 foot Copehue volcano was its first since 2000.

The blast was apparently short-lived and relatively small, according to the Eruptions blog. Volcanologist Erik Klemetti said the eruption was driven more by exploding steam rather than fresh lava.

Klemetti also indicated that the Copehue blast was dwarfed by the powerful 2011 outbursts at Puyehue-Cordon Caulle, Chile.

The Puyehue-Cordon Caulle blasts spread thick layers of ash along the Chilean and Argentinian Andes. Costly damage and loss of income were suffered by mountain resorts, such as those of Bariloche, Argentina. Ranchers also suffered losses.

Ash fall extended eastward into the Argentina Pampas, even reaching Buenos Aires, where many flights were canceled or diverted.


A 1992 photo of the summit of Copehue volcano, straddling the Chile-Argentina border; Callaqui volcano towers in the distance. (Smithsonian National Museum/University of Chile/Oscar Gonzalez-Ferran)

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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