December 18, 2013
Chile´s Puyehue Volcano eruption equals 70 atomic bombs
The power of the eruption of the volcanic complex Chilean Puyehue-Cordón Caulle is equivalent to the energy released by 70 atomic bombs or two percent of the world´s electrical power, according to a study published on Wednesday by Argentine investigators.
Three physicists of the National University of Río Negro, one of the Argentine provinces most affected by the volcano, estimated that the Puyehue spewed one hundred million tons of ash, sand and pumice stone, “comparable to the amount of load of 24 million trucks of sand.”
In the study, published in the Website of the academic organization, hypothesis like the area covered by volcanic ashes – about 1,700 square kilometres, with thickness average of ten centimetres – were among the most interesting findings.
Last June the volcanic complex, located in the Andes mountain chain, situated in Chile but bordering Argentina, entered in activity expelling ashes and other materials for five hours creating a five thousand meters ash cloud.
“The energy necessary to elevate that mass of materials is estimated in around a thousand kilotons, equivalent to the energy released by 70 nuclear bombs,” calculated the experts, two of them members of the National Council of Scientific research and National Commission of Atomic Energy.
“The magnitude of the energy put into play in this geologic phenomenon is equivalent to twelve times the installed electrical power in Argentina or two percent of world electrical power,” they emphasized.
The eruption of the Puyehue generated millionaire economic losses in Argentina, where the ash cloud influenced commercial flights consequently affecting tourism activities. The ash dissemination has caused cancellation of hundreds of domestic and international flights and the declaration of “farming emergency” in Argentine provinces such as Chubut, Río Negro and Neuquén.