After the Volcanic Ash

Nothing remains of the ashy grey powder and the pumice stone that invaded the sky and soil of Bariloche and created uncertainty and fear both in local denizens and visitors.

Just like some territories experience floods and others undergo strong drought periods, San Carlos de Bariloche, due to its proximity to the Caulle Mountain Range, was affected by the ash resulting from the eruption of the Chilean volcano.

As it was to be expected at the time, the natural phenomenon had an impact on the population and the entire country. But once the initial shock was over, the actions to face this difficult situation and search for solutions emerged almost immediately. With capacity and resolution, several institutions joined their efforts to become informed through specialized technicians on how to face this event.

Among other actions, the neighborhoods and the downtown area were cleaned by the very dwellers of the city. Armed with brooms, shovels and wheelbarrows, they struggled to prevent the ash from. Besides, they received help from governmental institutions.

  • Some ash in the isolated areas

    Some ash in the isolated areas

  • The pumice stone

    The pumice stone

  • The remains of ash

    The remains of ash

  • The woods will benefit

    The woods will benefit

  • Swept away the area with the aid of the wind and the rain

    Swept away the area with the aid of the wind and the rain

  • It’s an Ill Wind that Blows Nobody Any Good

    It’s an Ill Wind that Blows Nobody Any Good

When it was finally possible, constant water and environmental dust studies were carried out in order to prove that the suspension particles did not represent any kind of danger to the health of the population. The rest was done by nature, which gradually swept away the area with the aid of the wind and the rain.

At present, there are hardly any vestiges at sight. The city is glooming as always and tourists have trusted the recuperation process. During the winter vacations, Bariloche recovered its original hotel occupancy rates and even exceeded them in the high ski season.

The biggest effort was concentrated on showing public opinion that the conditions were appropriate to choose Bariloche as a tourist destination once again. Communication became of the utmost importance in order to banish wrong concepts.

We talked to the Nahuel Huapi National Park rangers, who confirmed what we described above. They added that there still is some ash in the isolated areas to the east of the park, where the winds raise the remains of ash and these float in the air.

“It’s an Ill Wind that Blows Nobody Any Good”

The national park was never closed and today it is known that when these natural phenomena take place, we must learn to co-exist with them and not see them like a catastrophe. In the future, the woods will benefit from the components of the ash and the pumice stone that landed during the eruption.

We conclude with the words of a specialist, a researcher from CONICET and member of the environmental studies group from Universidad Nacional del Comahue Gustavo Villarosa. He asserts that: “The main problem of volcanic activity is ignorance about the natural phenomenon, which is not exceptional but normal within the geological processes in the region”.

Let us not deprive ourselves of enjoying the natural beauties of the Andean Patagonian area, and especially Bariloche, due to our own ignorance.
Read complete Outing... Mónica Pons / Eduardo Epifanio

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