Chile’s Calbuco Volcano has erupted for the third time in less than two weeks on Thursday. The Chilean National Geology and Mines Service issued warnings late last week that a third eruption could still be in the works.
Geologists note that the Calbuco volcano had been inactive since the early 1970s before last week’s eruptions.
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Two earlier eruptions of ash and lava from the 6,200-foot high Calbuco late Wednesday and early Thursday last week rocked Southern Chile and sent thousands of locals and tourists streaming away from the area.
Details on recent Calbuco volcanic eruptions
Authorities in Chile declared a state of emergency last week, sent in the army and evacuated a 12-mile radius around Calbuco, which is in Los Lagos, a region popular with tourists because of its gorgeous mountain landscapes filled with volcanoes and lakes with amazing black-sand beaches.
Before today’s eruption, Chile’s National Geologic and Mining Service had estimated that the volcano had pumped out more than 210 million cubic meters of ash, covering areas throughout Los Lagos and also eastward across parts of Argentina. According to the AP, commercial airline flights have also been disrupted for almost 10 days.
More than 6,000 local residents had already been evacuated as a precaution before the latest eruption.
Chilean government authorities also warned about the possibility of contamination of drinking water and farm crops due to the relatively high toxic content of the volcanic ash from the eruption.
Officials said a state of emergency remained in effect for the area surrounding the Calbuco volcano, about 650 miles south of the capital Santiago. They also highlighted that heavy rains could trigger mudslides and overflow rivers, possibly leading to flooding and the need for further evacuations.