April 4, 2009 / 3:43 PM / 9 years ago

Volcano erupts again in Chilean lake region

SANTIAGO, April 4 (Reuters) - Chile’s Llaima volcano, one of South America’s most active, spewed a more-than-1,000 metre (1,094 yard) flow of lava on Saturday in a fresh eruption, the country’s National Emergency Office (ONEMI) said.

Llaima, which lies in Chile’s picturesque lake region about 435 miles (700 km) south of the capital Santiago, erupted on Jan. 1, 2008 and has spewed pyroclastic rock and ash sporadically since.

"There are permanent explosions that reach 600 metres above the crater. Falling ash is visible and ... a flow of lava of more than 1,000 metres has been observed," ONEMI said on its website.

It said experts were evaluating the possible evacuation of 17 people in the area surrounding the volcano.

Chile’s chain of some 2,000 volcanoes is the world’s second-largest after Indonesia. Around 50 to 60 are recorded to have erupted, while 500 are deemed potentially active.

The 10,253-foot (3,127-metre) Llaima was the second to erupt in the past year.

The Chaiten volcano, 760 miles (1,222 km) south of Santiago in the Patagonia region, erupted last May for the first time in thousands of years, spewing ash, gas and molten rock and prompting the evacuation of thousands of people.

Ash from Chaiten soared 20 miles into the atmosphere, swelled rivers and caused floods that damaged dozens of houses and destroyed much of the nearby town of the same name.

Chaiten erupted again in February, prompting a fresh evacuation of residents who had rejected a government plan to abandon the town and rebuild it a few miles away. (Writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by Paul Simao)

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