- 8 Photos
- The Chilean volcanic plume is seen in this NASA satellite image taken Monday, June 6, two days after the eruption. (Photo: NASA / MODIS/Puyehue volcano, pccvc, Puyehue-Cordon Caulle, ranco, andes, Puyehue National Park, volcanic eruption, chile, Cordillera Nevada caldera, Pliocene Mencheca, Cordon Caulle)
After simmering quietly for decades, Chile's Puyehue volcano erupted violently on Saturday, spitting out fire and lightning and coating nearby Argentina with soot. (Mad about magma? Check out the lightning in Iceland's Grímsvötn volcano earlier this year, and a rim collapse inside Hawaii's Kilauea volcano.)
The volcano is located in the country's midsection about 500 miles south of Santiago, the capital. About 600 people were evacuated but so far none were reported injured, unlike a blast in 1960 from the same Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex complex that wiped out about 300 lives. The volcano settled back down into angry rumblings on Sunday, leaving a plume cresting 6 miles in the sky that was thick with lung-choking ash.
The last known eruption of Puyehue was in 1990. Geologists suggest that the volcanic complex, the most geothermically active in the southern Andes, is erupting now because it was shaken up by 2010's huge Chilean earthquake. Similarly, some are predicting that the recent 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan spells more active volcanoes in Asia in the year to come.
Follow the jump for a photo gallery of this hellish spectacle.