Chile Volcano Ash Cloud Interrupts South American Air Travel

Posted June 7th, 2011 at 8:15 pm (UTC-5)
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A massive cloud of volcanic ash billowed through the atmosphere above South America Tuesday, disrupting air travel for much of the day.

Flights to and from cities in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Brazil were interrupted, although some airlines began resuming flights later in the day.

The ash is spewing from the Puyehue volcano in southern Chile, which erupted for the first time in a half century Saturday, sending a column of gas about 10 kilometers into the air.

Volcanic ash can damage jet engines. Last year a volcano eruption in Iceland forced thousands of flights to be cancelled, wrecking travel plans for millions and costing airlines nearly $2 billion in losses.