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Chile volcano ash disrupts air travel for hours
by Staff Writers
Montevideo (AFP) Nov 22, 2011

Flights were canceled for several hours in Uruguay and Argentina Tuesday due to volcanic ash from the four-month-long eruption of the Puyehue volcano in Chile, airport authorities said.

Laura Vanoli, Uruguay's chief aeronautic meteorologist, said the country was almost entirely covered by an ash cloud.

"It's remnants of ash," she said, adding that there will be a risk of disruption as long as the volcano remains active.

About a dozen flights by airlines including Aerolineas Argentinas, American, Iberia and TACA were suspended in Uruguay, while other flights were delayed, the website of the Carrasco International Airport serving Montevideo said.

In Buenos Aires, airport authorities said some 20 flights were canceled, and said other flights were delayed because of poor visibility due to the ash.

However by the afternoon air traffic was returning to normal in both Uruguay and Argentina, though with delays due to the postponed flights.

Since the volcano's eruption on June 4, air travel in much of the southern cone of South America, and as far away as Australia, has been periodically disrupted by ash clouds streaming east out of the Chilean Andes.

Chile's National Geology and Mining Service said that ashes from the Puyehue -- which continues belching, though at a lower intensity -- could affect air travel for months.

The decision to delay or cancel flights is taken by the airlines over concern about how the fine ash would affect airplane engines.

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Strong quake rattles Bolivia
La Paz (AFP) Nov 22, 2011 - A strong 6.2-magnitude earthquake rattled Bolivia on Tuesday and was also felt in Peru and Chile, but the epicenter was deep underground and there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The US Geographical Survey said the quake's epicenter was 331.4 miles (533.3 kilometers) underground and located 37 miles south-southwest of Trinidad, the capital of Bolivia's northern Beni region.

The USGS initially gave the quake a 6.7 magnitude but later revised its reading downwards.

The quake, which occurred at the beginning of the afternoon in Bolivia, was felt in major cities, including the capital La Paz in the west, Santa Cruz in the east, and Cochabamba in the center of the Andean nation, local media said.

The private San Calixte observatory, the main seismological institute in Bolivia, said there were no reports of damage or casualties, and local media said the same.

Officials in neighboring Chile and Peru said the quake was also felt there, but again there were no reports of any significant consequences.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center also gave the all-clear, saying that no destructive waves had formed off the Chilean and Peruvian coasts.

The strongest earthquake to strike Bolivia in modern times was an 8.2-magnitude temblor in 1994 that claimed five lives, according to the USGS, which monitors quakes worldwide and aggregates historical information.


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Volcano spews ash, steam nears Mexico City
Puebla, Mexico (AFP) Nov 20, 2011
Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano spewed a three-kilometer (1.8-mile) plume of ash into the air Sunday near the capital, authorities said. "The surrounding villages are calm. The explosions came after breaking through a dome of lava, but there is no incandescent lava flowing from the crater," Puebla civil protection director Jesus Morales told AFP. The volcano, located some 55 kilometers (35 ... read more

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