Thursday October 18

Central American crops battling pests and drought, Argentine students overweight, and sea lions nursed back to health in Peru ARGENTINA 37% of schoolchildren in Argentina are overweight and 18% of those are obese, says a review of 57 studies done across 13 of Argentina’s provinces. The studies include around 120,000 children and were undertaken in … Continue reading Thursday October 18

Thursday October 4

Argentine scientists discover four new yeast species in Patagonian glaciers, stray dogs a health hazard in Mexico, and Chile opens up concessions for its lithium reserves. ARGENTINA Argentine scientists have identified four new strains of yeast in Patagonian glaciers and reported their findings in the journal Microbiology Ecology. The yeasts have adapted to living at … Continue reading Thursday October 4

Thursday September 20

Bolivia passes law to save pink freshwater dolphins, scientists want an ecological corridor to protect jaguars in Mexico, and more evidence that Patagonia was a landmass adrift 500 million years ago. ARGENTINA Argentine scientists have found more evidence that Patagonia was once a separate landmass from South America. The discovery of 500 million-year-old Archaeocyatha, small reef-building animals … Continue reading Thursday September 20

Thursday September 13

Chile’s ALMA telescope finds rare molecules surrounding a star, climate change has trees migrating in Peru, and Argentina’s guanacos are llama-non-grata. ARGENTINA Guanacos are now species-non-grata in Argentina following the announcement that the llama-like animal is a “harmful species” due to its population size, its biological characteristics, and the economic and social damage they bring … Continue reading Thursday September 13

Thursday August 30

Argentina deals with whale-hungry seagulls, work resumes at Brazil’s $13 billion Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, and a 1,200-year-old Mayan theater found in Mexico. ARGENTINA A booming gull population in Patagonia is causing strange foraging behavior in the birds. The gulls have been attacking and feeding on southern right whales off the coast of Chubut province … Continue reading Thursday August 30

Thursday August 23

Cropdusters found guilty of illegal spraying near Cordoba, Argentina, Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano spews lava and ash, and Chile to open up lithium mining. ARGENTINA UPDATE: In a landmark trial, a farmer and a pilot have been convicted of illegally cropdusting too close to a neighborhood in Cordoba, Argentina. This is the first time in Latin … Continue reading Thursday August 23

Thursday August 16

Brazil’s Atlantic forests are losing mammal species, Argentine heart patients prescribed tango classes, and singing mice in Costa Rica may yield clues to human speech. ARGENTINA Patients in Buenos Aires recovering from heart surgery are being prescribed tango classes as part of their physical therapy. The Argentine rehabilitation program has been met with success and … Continue reading Thursday August 16

Thursday August 2

Villagers immune to rabies found in the Peruvian Amazon, Chile’s Very Large Telescope spots a spiral galaxy, and scientists strap a camera to a diving cormorant in Argentina. ARGENTINA Argentine scientists with the Wildlife Conservation Society have captured video of never-before-seen behavior from a cormorant diving 150 feet to the sea floor in search of … Continue reading Thursday August 2

Thursday July 26

Argentines are protesting a new Monsanto factory in Cordoba, Peruvians are reviving ancient farming practices and almost 5 million chickens have been slaughtered in Mexico to contain the H7N3 avian flu. ARGENTINA A cropdusting lawsuit in Córdoba, Argentina resumed this week. Two soybean farmers and a pilot stand accused of cropdusting too close to urban … Continue reading Thursday July 26

Thursday July 19

Patagonian penguins wash up dead on Brazil’s shores, climate change affects citrus farmers in Argentina and extreme microbes found in the Atacama desert’s highest volcanoes. ARGENTINA Argentine citrus farmers are seeing production plummet 50 to 70 percent following alternating periods of intense heat and freezing temperatures. The producers are salvaging what they can, but the … Continue reading Thursday July 19

Thursday July 12

An avian flu epidemic in Mexico, the ongoing cholera outbreak in Cuba and genetically-modified mosquitos to be released in Brazil ARGENTINA Argentina is planning on building a 173 square mile wind farm in Chubut province, Patagonia. The China Development Bank Corp. has offered a $3 billion loan to Generadora Eolica Argentina del Sur (Geassa) for … Continue reading Thursday July 12

Thursday July 5

Argentina upholds glacier protection law, a Colombian volcano is still rumbling and a scientist says northern Chile is due for a large earthquake. ARGENTINA Argentina’s “glacier law,” designed to protect water reserves and limit mining activity on and near glaciers in the country’s Andean west, was upheld by the Argentine Supreme Court this week. In … Continue reading Thursday July 5

Thursday June 28

A new dinosaur found in Patagonia, a giant Galapagos tortoise dies and another Chilean energy project is delayed ARGENTINA Argentine paleontologists announced this week the discovery of a new genus and species (Bicentenaria argentina) of carnivorous dinosaur found in the country’s Neuquen province in northern Patagonia. The dinosaur measured 3 meters from tip to tail … Continue reading Thursday June 28

Friday June 22

Rio+20 Summit, cropdusting lawsuit and other environmental stories BRAZIL On the eve of Brazil hosting three days of environmental awareness and global strategizing, hundreds of demonstrators gathered along the Xingu river in the Amazonian north to protest the US$16 billion Belo Monte hydroelectric project, slated to open in 2015 and ramp up to full capacity … Continue reading Friday June 22

A year later, the effects of a volcanic eruption still plague Patagonia

On June 3 2011, Patagonia cracked open. A thick brown cloud of ash shot nine miles into the air, ejected from the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex in Chile’s lake district. Within hours, ash was raining down on both sides of the Argentine-Chilean border, forcing schools, roads and airports to shut down. Now, more than nine months later, the complex is still rumbling and sending ash billowing into the Argentine resort towns of Bariloche and Villa La Angostura.

Puyehue-Cordón Caulle sits along an eighteen-kilometer section of the Andes about 100 kilometers east of Osorno in southern Chile that churns with volcanic activity. It has more than 60 historically or potentially-active volcanoes. Last June’s erupton didn’t originate in a single crater but came from many fractures and fissures. One hundred million cubic meters of pyroclastic material were released per day in the initial phase of the eruption, according to Chile’s National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin). 3,500 people were evacuated from the immediate vicinity in Chile and towns as far as Bariloche in Argentina—about 130 kilometers away—were blanketed in a foot of volcanic ash that short-circuited power lines and closed highways.

“We’re going to be paying for this for years,” says Gustavo Villarosa, a volcanologist based in Bariloche at the National University of Comahue. The ash fouled the city’s sewage treatment plant and municipal water purification system, says Villarosa. “The pumps corroded, the filters were blocked up” Local officials had time to plan for the eruption but didn’t, he says.

Continue reading “A year later, the effects of a volcanic eruption still plague Patagonia”