February 09, 2008

EARTHCHANGES - Volcanic times in South America

Volcanic times in South America

Volcano1_2 It's volcano season in the Andes. Of course, volcanoes are more epochal than seasonal, and don't comport to any quadrants of the calendar.

But it has been a jumpy few months on the South American edge of the Pacific Ring of Fire, where folks are all too aware of volcanoes' destructive force. Spectacular eruptions and shattered nerves have been the norm in the vicinity of several fuming behemoths.

Volcano2_2_2 In Ecuador, hundreds have been evacuated from the proximity of the Tungurahua volcano, about 85 miles south of Quito, the capital. Authorities have declared a red alert, reports El Universo. And on the other end of the continent, El Mercurio says Chilean villagers were on the run from the Llaima volcano, which has spewed out a river of lava more than a mile long, illuminating the night sky.

Patrick J. McDonnell and Andres D'Alessandro in Buenos Aires

Photos: The Tungurahua volcano erupts (Dolores Ochoa/Associated Press); Ecuadorians wear masks to keep out the ash near Tungurahua volcano. (Pablo Cozzaglio/AFP/Getty Images)

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