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Chile volcano eruption creates natural light display

June 6, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A dazzling natural display is happening in Chile.

It's due to lightning in a cloud of ash from an erupting volcano. The volcano in the Caulle Cordon of southern Chile has been erupting for more than two days. The cloud of ash above it is more than six miles high.

While it's impressive to look at, it is causing problems. More than 3,500 people have been forced to evacuate to shelters and at least one airport had to close. So far there are no reports of any injuries.

The eruption is nearly 620 miles south of Chile's capital, Santiago.

Authorities put the area on alert Saturday morning after a flurry of earthquakes, and the eruption began in the afternoon. The National Emergency Office recorded an average of 240 tremors an hour for the first 12 hours, but that dropped to about 17 an hour by Sunday, Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter said.

With the Andes running along its entire length, Chile has more than 3,000 volcanoes, of which about 500 are considered active and 60 have had eruptions recorded over the past 450 years.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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