REUTERS/STRNew

REUTERS/STRNew

It looks like Iceland's volcanoes aren't the only ones stopping air traffic this year. 

Earlier today LAN, Chile's flagship carrier, cancelled or delayed many flights to and from Argentina's busiest airports Ezeiza and Aeroparque while the Puyehue volcano continued to belch tons of ash into the atmosphere after erupting this past weekend.

Stiff winds blew the ash from the Chilean volcano in a widening arc, grounding most air travel to and from Argentina.  Flights from other countries into Argentina were also cancelled until further notice as airborne ash can severely damage jet engines.

However, by afternoon, flights into Cordoba, Mendoza, and Buenos Aires were gradually getting back on schedule, LAN said in a statement.

Geologists in Chile warned that the Cordon Caulle volcano could keep erupting for several weeks and this may not be the end of air traffic delays.

The Puyehue volcano is located about 540 miles (870km) south of the capital Santiago in the Andes mountain range. Saturday's eruption prompted Chilean authorities to order the relocation of almost 3,500 people as the volcano sent a 10-kilometer-high ash cloud into the atmosphere.  The winds carried much of this ash across the Andes into Argentina where international resort towns like Bariloche were blanketed in a thick grey film.

Closer to the volcano, strong rains that began on Monday night increased the danger of rivers clogging up with ash and overflowing in flash floods.  Evacuations expanded on Tuesday, with more than 4,000 people fleeing their homes.

Volcanologist Jorge Muñoz of Chile's National Geology and Mines Service said that the eruption is considered to be moderate so far, but that could change.  He warns that the volcano will likely begin to expel lava in the coming days, along with pyroclastic material that can turn waterways into avalanches of mud and rock and have the potential to destroy downstream communities.