Bloomberg News

Chile Maintains Red Alert as Volcano Shows Signs of Calming

October 28, 2011

(Updates to say number of quakes have declined and emissions have fallen in first paragraph.)

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Chile maintained a state of red alert in the area surrounding the Hudson volcano in the country´s south, even as authorities saw a reduced number of quakes and ash emissions eased.

Authorities have evacuated more than 120 people who live around the volcano, which is about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the $3.2 billion HidroAysen hydroelectric project, the government emergency service, known as Onemi, said on its website. There is a low probability the volcano would affect the area where the dams will be built, HidroAysen said in an e- mailed statement yesterday.

The volcano has spewed ash clouds reaching 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) from three fissures in the past two days. An eruption would be the first at the volcano in two decades and would follow explosions at southern Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic complex that disrupted air travel as far away as Australia this year.

“The Hudson volcano has progressed positively since yesterday,” Deputy Mining Minister Pablo Wagner said in the Onemi statement. “Activity has decreased substantially, very little seismic activity has been registered and much less overhanging dust and ash has been observed.”

Empresa Nacional de Electricidad SA and Colbun SA have yet to start work on the HidroAysen project, which will generate 2,750 megawatts, equivalent to about one-quarter of the central power grid’s capacity. The volcano could blow ash into the Baker River, one of two that would be dammed for the project, according to a 2007 document.

The Hudson killed hundreds of thousands of sheep in neighboring Argentina when it erupted in 1991.

--Editors: Philip Sanders, Harry Maurer

To contact the reporter on this story: Randall Woods in Santiago at rwoods13@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net.


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