5 Jun 2011

Eruption in southern Chile

10:58 am on 5 June 2011

A volcano in southern Chile has erupted, prompting evacuation orders for 3500 people.

The National Service of Geology Mining says the explosion that sparked the eruption at the Puyehue volcano also produced a column of gas 10km high.

Winds have fanned the ash toward neighboring Argentina. The airport at the resort city of San Carlos de Bariloche is closed.

The volcano has been dormant for decades.

The BBC reports a dozen small earthquakes were recorded before the eruption began.

Puyehue is located 870km south of the capital Santiago.

It is part of the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain, which last saw a major eruption in May 1960.