A huge thank you to my ex-colleague and very good friend, Ralphie, for sending these images through to me (he's a great guy, but has extremely poor judgement when choosing football teams to support)
As I scroll through the absolutely amazing pictures, I cannot help but feel some connection to the doomsday movie, "2012". It serves to remind us just how awesome nature can be, and how little we actually are as humans in the whole scheme of the earth's life cycle.
I make no claim to the text or photos - All credit to the author and image owners
When the Chilean volcano erupted, it had sent a towering plume of ash across South America, forcing thousands from their homes, grounding airline flights in southern Argentina and coating ski resorts with a gritty layer of dust instead of snow.
Booming explosions echoed across the Andes as toxic gases belched up from a three-mile-long fissure in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic complex - a ridge between two craters just west of the Chilean-Argentine border that began erupting Saturday.
Winds blew a six-mile high cloud of ash all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and even into southern Buenos Aires province, hundreds of miles to the north-east.
Raining ash: The plume above the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano chain threw ash up to six miles into the sky:
Engulfed in ash: A policeman walks between rocks and ash near the volcano site in southern Chile:
Authorities in Chile went house to house, trying to persuade stragglers near the volcano to evacuate because of an increasing danger of toxic gas and flash floods.
Winds fanned the ash toward neighbouring Argentina, darkening the sky in the ski resort city of San Carlos de Bariloche, in the centre of the country, and its airport has also been closed.
The eruption in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic chain, about 575 miles south of the capital, Santiago, also prompted authorities to close a busy border crossing into Argentina.
It was not immediately clear which of the chain's four volcanoes had erupted because of ash cover and weather conditions. The chain last saw a major eruption in 1960.
Grounded: An aircraft belonging to Austral with ash on it from Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano chain remains stranded on the tarmac of the sky resort San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina's Patagonia:
Covering: This road near the volcano site was left completely coated in pumice rocks from the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain volcano:
Massive: An example of a pumice rock from Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain volcano is displayed:
Local media said the smell of sulphur hung in the air and there was constant seismic activity.
'The Cordon Caulle (volcanic range) has entered an eruptive process, with an explosion resulting in a 10-kilometre-high gas column,' the state emergency office ONEMI said.
As a precaution, the government said it had evacuated 3,500 people from the surrounding area.
This development is the latest volcanic activity to affect the country. Three years ago, Chile's Chaiten volcano erupted spectacularly for the first time in thousands of years, spewing molten rock and a vast cloud of ash that reached the stratosphere and was visible from space.
It also drifted over neighbouring Argentina, coating towns. Chile's Llaima volcano, one of South America's most active, also erupted that year and again in 2009.
Chile's chain of about 2,000 volcanoes is the world's second largest after Indonesia. Some 50 to 60 are on record as having erupted, and 500 are potentially active.
Winter come early: In scenes more reminiscent of a snow storm, residents walk through an ash covered street in the resort San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina:
As a precaution, the government said it was evacuating 3,500 people from the surrounding area.
The world truly is awesome!!
A long-term, old-school online presence coming out of haitus. Having lived all around the world, Florida is now home, everywhere we lived is in our hearts!