Chile Lowers Copahue Volcano Alert and Allows Evacuees to Return

By Dialogo
June 05, 2013

On June 3, the Chilean National Emergency Office (ONEMI) lowered the alert of a possible eruption of Copahue volcano, located on the border with Argentina, due to a decrease in seismic activity, and notified the evacuees that they can return home.

After receiving a technical report from the National Service of Geology and Mines, minister of Mining Hernán de Solminihac told the press that the alert level of Copahue had been “decreed down from red to orange.”

The ONEMI also lowered its alert level from red to yellow, and told evacuees that “the technical conditions do not justify keeping people in a safe place.”

Last week, Chilean and Argentine authorities set a red alert for an increase of seismic activity associated with the Copahue volcano, and ordered the evacuation of about 3,000 people in both countries, of which 1,200 abandoned their homes.

On the Chilean side, the volcano is located about 311 miles south of Santiago in a difficult-to-reach area dwelled by Mapuche-Pehuenche communities.

In Argentina, the 1,300 mile-high volcano is close to the village of Caviahue-Copahue, in the province of Neuquén.

The volcano has no historic record of lava eruptions, although in the last century there were several explosions with ash emissions, the last of which took place in December 2012.