From Arturo Lowndes – Argentina

Chaitan dust cloud

The situation we lived these last 2 months is as follows:
We have a berry farm in the middle of the forest 4 miles north of Trevelin, Argentina and 2 months ago we were lucky that the fire department was able to control one of the largest forest fires in the last 20 years only 300 yds north of our home. When the wind blew we had black ashes. The next thing that happened was that a volcano which has been dormant for aprox. nine thousand years located across the border in Chile (aprox. 60 miles west of us) exploded and started to spew ashes into the air.

Chaitan volcano The column of ashes reached 70.000 feet.The prevailing winds bring the ashes in our direction and the fall out for 15 days covered the ground in light grey silica, We had an acuumulation of 3 inches.The ashes even reached the city of Buenos Aires one thousand four hundred miles north of Trevelin. On top of that it snowed 5 inches .Now that the snow is melting and when the wind blows we have white ashes and sulphur smelling talcum powder even in our pockets. The melt off of the snow has carried ashes into the river Percy which runs below our farm and has filled the river bed so that the river is starting to flood the surroundings.

As all airline flights are cancelled we plan on leaving by car as soon as the roads are opened. Photos are available on Internet by calling up Chaiten which is the name of the volcano. As in Egypt; three down and four more plagues to go. We are in good health as we had dust masks in stock for fumigating the fruit and our water source is artesian and has not been contaminated.

We will see what happens to our berry crop in November as the sulphur content raises the acidity of the soil which may be good for the rasberries. currants and gooseberries but may mess up the cherries. Luckily we had sufficient water to wash down the roofs of the buildings and the only roof which caved in with the weight of the ashes plus snow was the wood shed. The good news is that they tell me it makes your hair grow and I am expectant that at 70 I may get something back on my fly airport (bald head) although I unknowingly kept a hat on everytime I ventured outside. The other good news was that as we had to stay inside I was able to record with my organ another Musical CD of jazzed up church hymns that I hope will be sold as well as the first one (up to now 800 copies) Anyone wanting a copy please contact me by mail at

Rosa and Arthur Lowndes


Arturo is a wonderful and fascinating person to know. I will be posting up his family tree research shortly, to the Lowndes online archive. They’ve been through a lot and seem to be holding up very well. One day I aim to eat some of his raspberries. – Mike