Today we got the lay of the land and an understanding of what the volcanic eruption did.
On June 4th, Chile’s Puyehue volcano looked like this from space
From a ‘pimple’ of an eruption on the north face of the volcano, the town of Bariloche, which houses the lab we are working in looked like this….
Eight months later and the volcano is still billowing and we hiked to the top of the Catedral Mountains to take a look.
The volcano is still spewing. Look at the picture below carefully… You can see the billowing in the far left of the image and the steam and ash as it settles in a long, thin cloud to the right.
There have been days here already when the wind changes and the ash settles like a thick fog making it hard to breathe.
When the volcano went off, where the wind blew dictated which of the glacial lakes would harbor pumice islands.
Back down to get a closer look at some of the smaller lakes and we discovered that despite the challenge put upon nature, the beauty of a Patagonia natural wood forest remained.
As we walked the shady path to one of the lakes, we passed through a forest of evergreen beech. Littering the ground below them were fungi that only the Mapuchi have the legal right to gather. The trees leaned into each other and circled against each other in wind that has been strong for a day. As bark moved against bark, the trees groaned and screeched in low sounds.
Next a forest of Arrayan trees.
… and a Patagonia spider web.
And Patagonia is as beautiful and different as you can imagine…