There was a massive double eruption of the Calbuco volcano on Wednesday, near the tourist location of Puerto Varas, about 1,000km south of the capital, Santiago in Southern Chile
This is the first time that Chile’s most dangerous volcano has erupted in over 42 years. The last eruption was in 1972.
Evacuations have been taking place and the government declared a red alert, as thick clouds of ash and smoke shot up several kilometers into the sky.
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RT report: A total of 4,000 people were reportedly evacuated from the affected area, authorities said, adding that evacuation radius of 20km has been established.
“There are a lot of people out in the streets, many heading to the gas stations to fill up on gas,” a resident of Puerto Varas, Derek Way, told Reuters.
There have been no reports of injuries or deaths so far. However, LATAM Airlines canceled flights to and from Puerto Montt.
“In this situation, with the eruption column so high, the main risk is that [the volcano] collapses, falls due to gravity because of its own weight and causes a pyroclastic flow,” Gabriel Orozco, a volcanologist with Chile’s geological and mining service, told local TV.
The first eruption threw cloud of ash 10km into the sky. It was followed by the second eruption.
The volcano may start oozing lava, and may cause the melting of ice, and ultimately floods, the National Geology and Mining Service said on Twitter, adding that a third eruption was likely over the next few hours.
“People are very, very frightened,” Gervoy Paredes, mayor of Puerto Montt, told AFP, “The situation is pretty complicated,” adding that reports showed the Blanco River was flooding because of ice melt caused by the eruption.