The cover story of yesterday’s provincial newspaper was “The awakening of a giant.” On Saturday the Copahue volcano in Neuquén province (north of Rio Negro province, where we are) erupted and sent a column of ash and smoke nearly one kilometer into the air. The volcano is located in a minimally populated area and officials have staged military police and informed residents they need to be prepared to evacuate.
According to this web site, there are 39 active Andean volcanoes on the Argentina side of the border with Chile. “They belong to the subduction zone of the Pacific underneath the Andean (South-American) plate straddling the whole west coast of South America.”
When the Chilean volcano Puyahue erupted on June 4, 2011 (Volcán), it sent up a cloud of ash nearly seven miles high, according to Wikipedia. Residents of Bariloche had no warning, and were confused when the sky went dark around 4pm and there was thunder and lightening. Then what appeared to be dirt started to fall from above. Cars were abandoned in the middle of the street because thick ash prevented their owners from continuing to drive. And as they learned what was happening, people mobbed supermarkets trying to buy bottled water. The local airport was closed for eight months, and the ash combined with a light snowfall had a devastating effect on tourism.