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Chaiten is a Chilean town, commune and former capital of the Palena Province in Los Lagos Region. The town is located north of the mouth of Yelcho River, on the east coast of the Gulf of Corcovado. The town is strategically located close to the northern end of the Carretera Austral where the highway goes inland.


The town was evacuated in May 2008 when the Chaiten volcano erupted for the first time in more than 9,000 years. The eruption, which commenced May 2, became more violent on May 5, (Times online) "4,000 evacuated as volcano blast meets storm in the Chilean sky" May 6, 2008. throwing up a high plume of ash and sulfurous steam that rose to , from which ashfall drifted across Patagonia, and over the Atlantic Ocean. During 2005 small earthquakes occurred below Chaiten and the nearby Liquine-Ofqui fault zone.

The town was completely flooded on May 12, 2008 after a lahar caused the banks of the Blanco River to overflow about 200 m on each side. Over the subsequent weeks, the river excavated a new course through Chaiten, completely destroying a significant part of it by July 2008. Some defensive work has been undertaken by the government, but they ultimately decided to abandon the town, relocating and compensating all residents. The provincial capital was provisionally moved to Futaleufu after the eruption breakout, but the capital shift was later on declared permanent. The future of the town has become a matter of political controversy in Chile.

Reconstruction of Chaiten

On February 25, 2009 the government announced it was going to rebuild Chaiten 10 km north of its current location in a coastal place known as Santa Barbara or "Fandango Norte." On March 3, 2009 construction work on the new town's administrative facilities started.

Nearby attractions

Nearby attractions include:

Corcovado National Park, which includes Corcovado volcano.

Pumalin Park, which includes Michinmahuida volcano.

Yelcho Lake

Carretera Austral

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Chaiten

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