After the Copahue volcano on the Neuquén provincial Andean border with Chile began spewing smoke due to an increase in seismic activity, a red alert was issued by Chilean authorities ordering the full evacuation of an estimated 3,000 people.
The 2,965m (nearly 10,000ft) volcano - which sits in the Andes cordillera - has so far only spewed gas, but thousands of minor earth tremors have been registered in the area.
Chilean Interior and Security Minister Andrés Chadwick said the increased activity could lead to an eruption and officials would evacuate 2,240 people, or 460 families, within a 25-kilometre radius.
“This evacuation is obligatory; it’s not voluntary,” Chadwick told reporters. Stoll not everybody is willing to leave.
No. I do not want to leave because we have chickens and it isn't easy to leave them and go to a shelter, resident Florinda Lipiman told the news agency Reuters.
In neighbouring Argentina the authorities had first declared a yellow alert but later revised it to the highest level. They have now ordered the evacuation of at least 600 people from the town of Caviahue to the neighbouring city of Loncopue where the crisis committee said than an eruption “can take place at any moment now”
Fears run deep as Copahue’s new eruptive cycle began in July 1992 when the crater lake explosions ejected rock fragments, white dust, large amounts of green and yellow liquid sulphur. In July 2000 Copahue registered its largest eruption in 100 years. Eruption of lapilli, ash, and bombs occurred at the volcano. Bombs up to 13 cm in diameter were ejected more than 8 km from the summit, and ash fell 100 km away.
As recently as December 22 2012 an eruption occurred when ash reached an altitude of 31,000 ft and extended 110 km southeast of the volcano. Satellite images showed sulphur dioxide plume from Copahue eruption reached Tristan da Cunha in the south Atlantic Ocean 2700 km ENE of the volcano on 24th December 2012