Spectacular eruption of Calbuco volcano, Chile



It looks like something from an apocalypse movie.

Yesterday a volcano that had been inactive for 50 years suddenly erupted, sending huge ash clouds into the air and forcing a large-scale evacuation.

The Calbuco volcano in southern Chile then reputed again several hours later in the early hours of this morning.

A state of emergency was declared and air traffic was disrupted.

The first eruption spewed a giant mushroom of ash six miles into the sky and it is drifting towards Argentina.

A 12-mile exclusion zone has been set up and the army is currently in control of the Llanquihue province and the town of Puerto Octay.

The National Geology and Mining Service said the volcano might start oozing lava, raising the possibility of mountain-top snow and ice melting, causing floods and raising water levels in rivers.

It said a third eruption was likely over the next few hours.

‘The ash might damage crops, animal feed, bridges, roads, people’s work routines, tourism and especially their health,’ President Michelle Bachelet said.

The first eruption lasted nearly 90 minutes, vulcanologist Gabriel Orozco of the geology service said.

On a 0-8 scale measuring volcano eruption strength, the first one came in at four or five, Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo said.

The second one was just about as powerful, the ministry said.

It said there were no immediate reports of people hurt or missing.

Until minutes right before the blast, volcano eruption monitoring systems had picked up nothing. In fact, volcano watchers in Chile had been watching another one, Villarica also in the south, for a possible eruption.

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