A Red Alert has been declared in southern Chile after an eruption at Villarrica Volcano this morning.
Over two thousand people were evacuated from Pucon, and another thousand from Panguipulli, two communities close to the volcano.
While no one has been harmed in the eruption, the situation will continue to be monitored for any further eruption. The ash from the volcano could also pose a hazard to health. Meteorologists currently expect the ash cloud to be blown south and across remote parts of Argentina.
The Disaster Charter is an agreement between international satellite and remote sensing agencies to provide free access to data and resources to help mitigate the effects of disasters on human life and property.
The Charter can be activated by any national disaster management authority. The activation for Villarrica was requested by the Chilean agency responsible for civil protection (ONEMI, Oficina Nacional de Emergencia del Ministerio del Interior y Seguridad Pública).
For updates of the ongoing activity check the latest status reports from ONEMI, Chile. Also, follow #Villarrica on twitter for social media updates and more images of the current activity.
Chile’s Villarrica volcano erupted last night (Tuesday 3rd March) sending fountains of lava shooting into the sky. The eruption began at around 3am local time and is still ongoing.
Locals updated twitter with pictures of spectacular columns of lava and ash spewing out of the volcano crater. The Chilean agency responsible for civil protection (ONEMI, Oficina Nacional de Emergencia del Ministerio del Interior y Seguridad Pública) has declared a red alert indicating the volcano is still active and dangerous.
Villarrica is a popular tourist destination and is one of the most active volcanoes in southern Chile. It has been producing gas almost constantly for 30 years since its last eruption in 1984. This recent eruption was preceded by signs of increased unrest around mid-February, which included increased seismicity and explosions around the crater. During an overflight on 16 February volcanologists observed a lava lake and recorded temperatures near 800 degrees Celsius.
The major hazard from this eruption to the local town of Villarrica is from lahars. These are extremely hazardous mudslides and form by the melting of snow and ice from the summit glacier by the intruding or erupting magma.
For status updates of the ongoing activity check the latest status reports from ONEMI, Chile. Also, follow #Villarrica on twitter for social media updates and more images of the current activity.