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UPDATE: Chile Volcano Zone May Be Permanently Unlivable

Chile, S.A.
Ash from eruption devastates surrounding area
Photo by Victor Gonzalez, Partido Humanista.

Story: Chile's President on Saturday warned that towns surrounding Chaitén Volcano, which has been in constant eruption since May 2, might become permanently unlivable. The National Geologic and Mining Service delivered an ominous report putting the possibility of the volcano's collapse above 50%. “There are experts who say that lava from the Chaitén Volcano could flow directly towards the town of Chaitén. These experts are recommending that the town of Chaitén never be inhabited again.” The volcano could implode, thus releasing a stream of red-hot pyroclastic material (burning gas and rock) capable of destroying everything in its path. There is increased build-up in the dome of magma currently covering the volcano's crater. Futhermore, the material accumulating in the area is “highly dense,” and thus more prone to collapse. Any implosion would cause complete destruction of everything within a 15 kilometer radius around the peak, an area which encompasses Chaitén, Santa Barbara, and several rural farming villages. “We have never had a situation quite like this in Chile.”

NEW ZEALAND - Volcanic activity at New Zealand's Mount Ruapehu is increasing and an eruption could occur at any time. The volcano in central North Island, famed as a location in the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy, last erupted on Sept. 25, 2007, spitting 2 metre (6 feet) boulders distances of up to 2 kms (1.5 miles). Ruapehu's elevated alert level has not been changed, but scientists said that activity within the mountain was greater, with high levels of gas spewing out, a warmer than average crater lake and ongoing volcanic tremors.

Mount Etna has rumbled back to life with a "seismic event" followed by a burst of ash, volcanologists said today, three days after minor eruptions shook the cone. A "seismic event provoking a strong explosion was recorded Tuesday at 0424 GMT (1324 AEST) in parts of the peak of the volcano." The explosion on Etna was followed by a rain of ash on the southeast crater, "where significant gas emissions are occurring." The "phenomenon currently represents no danger to people or property." Saturday's eruption, accompanied by streams of lava, was also at the volcano's southeast crater.
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