Red alert as 'cork' plugs volcano

Puyehue volcano erupted on June 6, causing about 3,500 people in the nearby area to be evacuated and spewing enough ash to cause global problems for airlines.
Puyehue volcano erupted on June 6, causing about 3,500 people in the nearby area to be evacuated and spewing enough ash to cause global problems for airlines. Photo: AP

Chilean experts have warned that a ''cork'' of lava could lead to another explosion at the Puyehue volcano, which has caused major flight disruptions from Argentina to Australia.

Seismic activity has declined, with two tremors of a magnitude of about 2.5 recorded every hour on Tuesday, compared with several hundred of a magnitude four or five in the hours preceding the initial June 4 eruption.

But Chile's National Service of Geology and Mining said on Wednesday that the volcano had to be kept on red alert because of the possibility of another explosion.

Geologists said a ''cork'' of lava, which emerged on Tuesday and was blocking even more lava from spewing forth, had the potential to create a huge build-up in pressure. If this continues, ''an explosive event remains possible, because the path the lava is taking is obstructed''.

AFP

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