Chile's President Michelle Bachelet, right, visits the Chaiten volcano.

Volcano Erupts in Southern Chile; More than 4,000 Residents Evacuated

May 06, 2008 05:44 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
by Chris Coats
President Michelle Bachelet pledges support and aid after visit, as the Chaiten Volcano continues to spew lava and ash.

30-Second Summary

A volcano in the southern Patagonian region of Chile, one of the world’s most seismically active areas, has erupted for the first time in modern history, prompting an immediate evacuation of nearby towns.

Located 760 miles from the capital city of Santiago, the Chaiten volcano has steadily grown more active since first showing signs of movement last week.

The mountain began spewing ash on Friday, May 2, launching an ashen cloud into the sky, and resulting in the evacuation of more than 4,000 people in Chaiten and Futaleufu. One death has been reported after a 92-year old woman suffered a heart attack while being evacuated.

Chile’s president Michelle Bachelet toured the area Sunday to survey the damage and need for evacuation. The villagers have asked Bachelet to help relocate the town, but she has said that it was too early to pursue such measures.

Although, there is no written record of an eruption at Chaiten, experts suggest that it has not erupted in over 2,000 years. Recognized as one of the world’s most seismically active counties, Chile is home to more than 100 active volcanoes.

Headline Links: Chaiten erupts

Background: Chaiten and Chile’s volcanic legacy

Reaction: Next steps

Reference: History’s biggest eruption, how volcanoes work


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