South America Living

Chaitén, Chile in Patagonia

Chaltén, Chile

The town of Chaitén in Chile Following the 2008 Erruption of Volcano Chaitén

Chaitén, Chile is north of the Yelcho River on the east coast of the Gulf of Corcovado. It is at the northern end of the Carretera Austral (CH-7) – Chile’s Route 7 which extends from Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins through rural Patagonia.

In May, 2008 the Chaitén volcano erupted for the first time in over 9,000 years and the town was destroyed. Vocanic ash spewed upwards of 19 miles (31 km) and landed throughout Patagonia (regions in Argentina & Chile) and across the Atlantic.

A week after the eruption, a lahar (landslide caused by volcanic activity) ensued which caused the Blanco River to overflow, flooding the entire town and nearby areas. Residents were evacuated and Chaitén was abandoned by the government, declaring Futaleufú the new capital of the Palena Province.     Travel Information for Futaleufú

In February, 2009 the government initiated construction 10 km north of its previous location to a new location at Santa Bárbara, also known as Fandango Norte.

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