Image Above: Ash from the Chaiten volcano has even been blown over the Andes mountains and into parts of Argentina. These residents of Esquel, Argentina, used surgical masks Monday to get around.
SANTIAGO, Chile - The Chaiten volcano spewed lava and blasted ash more than 12 miles into the sky on Tuesday, prompting a total evacuation of the provincial capital and other settlements.
President Michelle Bachelet interrupted a speech in the capital to announce that "the volcano is exploding so a total evacuation of the town of Chaiten has been ordered."
Rains following the eruption have carpeted surrounding areas in ash and mud. Hard hit is Chaiten, a small provincial capital of wooden houses and cobblestone streets just 6 miles from the volcano in southern Chile.
Click Image to View Video: Thousands Flee Volcano