Chile’s Copahue volcano has proven itself to be quite difficult to predict. Sitting on the border of Chile and Argentina, the 2,965 meter tall stratovolcano has increased in activity since 2001. Since that time, the Chilean government has issued a constant stream of warnings about it possibly erupting.
The most recent warnings came over the Christmas holiday. The Chilean Emergency National Office (ONEMI) registered an alert level Red, only to lower the alert level to Orange on Christmas Day. The alerts are based on the activity reports given by the Chilean Mining and Geology National Service.
Though the alert level has been lowered, residents within five to seven kilometers of Copahue’s nine volcanic craters have been asked to stay alert and remain able to evacuate quickly in case of an eruption.
The area is predominantly uninhabited wilderness, yet approximately 2,200 people live in nearby small villages. Chilean authorities are continuing to monitor the volcano closely and staying prepared with emergency plans in case of what could possibly be a very large eruption.
Due to the areas mostly westward winds, any large eruption of Copahue will likely have a profound effect on Argentina’s air traffic.