This true-color image of the ash cloud from the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano in Chile was captured on June 8 at 18:30 UTC (2:30 p.m. EDT) by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite. The plume has expanded to the south and is now covering a much wider angle than earlier this week. The image shows the plume of ash now blowing to the east over Argentina in what almost appears to be a 90 degree triangle. Although not visible on this image, a plume of ash and gas extend well out over the southern Atlantic Ocean.
After lying dormant for over 50 years, the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano came to life amid a series of rumbling earthquakes. On June 4, a fissure opened, sending a towering plume of volcanic ash and gas over 10 km (6 mi) high. Several thousand people were evacuated from nearby towns as a layer of pumice rock and volcanic ash blanketed a wide area. Many airports in the both Chile and Argentina were closed due to the ash and dust.
The Puyehue-Cordón Caulle complex is a chain of volcanoes that includes the Cordón Caulle rift zone, the Puyehue volcano and the Cordilera Nevada caldera. This event is the most significant eruption since 1960, which also stemmed from the same vent in the rift zone. Chile has more than 3,000 volcanoes, with approximately 80 of those currently active.