The Planchon volcano, on the border between Argentina and Chile, started erupting in the last few days, spewing pyroclastic material and gases, Chile's National Geology and Mining Service said.

The plume yesterday reached as high as 1.2 kilometer (0.75 mile) above the crater, the geology service said on its website today. The volcano, 196 kilometers south of Santiago, has had a permanent plume of smoke for several years.

The geology service described the eruption as "minor." Geologists plan to fly over the area today. An erupting volcano in 2008 forced residents to abandon the Chilean town of Chaiten.

To contact the reporter responsible on this story: Sebastian Boyd in Santiago at