Chilean Volcano Heaps Ash, Anxiety on Argentine Industries

VIDEO: Watch as divers venture into an ash-filled lake in Argentina
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Thick, gray dust is covering entire towns in Argentina as Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano continues to erupt, spewing ash that has disrupted more than airline flights.

Argentina's Agriculture Ministry has declared a state of emergency in three provinces after authorities discovered that the embers have disrupted tourism and endangered livestock.

Watch "World News With Diane Sawyer" for more on this story tonight on ABC.

An entire foot of ash has accumulated in one town called Villa La Angostura, located 24 miles from the volcano, which has reportedly caused major problems for Argentine farmers whose herds are now roaming in pastures covered with soot. Officials estimate that more than half of Patagonia's 2 million sheep have been affected by the ash.

The toxic ash has also made it difficult to drive on local roads, and Lake Nahuel Huapi, the country's largest lake, has become a sea of embers. Adding to the economic concern, the eruption started just as many mountain towns were preparing for ski season.

"Today, we can't anticipate the season's final results, but we can say that this has ruined the start of the winter season in the coming days," Mayor Roberto Alonso of Villa La Angostura said.

The residents in the town have been continuously working to clean up the ash but found it impossible to keep up with the volcano.

"The problem is the volcano keeps sending up ashes," business owner Alejandro Curiluck said. "In 15 days, we should be operating."

Authorities say the ash cloud from the erupting volcano has once again reached Chilean soil after completely circling the globe.

Many regional airports have been shut down for more than a week because of concerns about the ash, but Buenos Aires' main airports reopened Wednesday.

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