Volcano plume from Chile spans the entire continent

Eruption of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano was captured by the Terra satellite Monday. Photo: NASA Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team

Chile’s Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano has spewed an ash plume across South America into the South Atlantic.

U.S. satellites have tracked the plume from space. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, through its Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, released a series of photos Tuesday.

The agency said that the Terra satellite flew over the volcano Monday at 10:25 a.m. EDT. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument captured a visible image of the eruption that showed the large ash plume blowing northeast, then to the southeast and over
the Atlantic Ocean. The ash plume went at least as high as six miles Saturday when the mountain erupted, according to reports from the scene.

Some 3,500 people were evacuated.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, called GOES-13 and GOES-11, also captured images of the volcano from a different vantage point in space that revealed the plume was visible from even farther away, said the agency.

The plume changes directions because prevailing winds are different at different altitudes. The plume is disrupting some aircraft travel in southern South America.

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