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Chaitén is a small volcanic caldera located on the flank of the Michinmahuida volcano in southern Chile. Before 2008, it consisted mainly of a rhyolitic lava dome last active 9,400 years ago. But in May 2008, Chaitén began erupting violently, producing numerous plumes, pyroclastic flows, and lahars, and building a new lava dome on the north side of the old one. The eruption has had serious consequences for the nearby town of Chaitén, inundating it with lahars and ash, and ash from the eruption has even disrupted travel and agriculture in surrounding countries.