The Calbuco Volcano in Chile erupted for the third time in just eight days, prompting a new round of evacuations as another cloud of ash reaches into the sky. Although this third eruption was less powerful than the first two, authorities warn Calbuco remains unstable.
On Thursday, a large plume of dark smoke and ash began to rise from the mountain. Rescue workers had to evacuate residents and workers that had been permitted in the area for clean-up after the second eruption. According to Yahoo News, the evacuation zone covered a 12 mile (20 kilometer) radius around Calbuco.
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Authorities say the latest blast was less powerful than the ones on April 22 and 23, but that didn’t mean this was Calbuco’s final show.
Head of the National Geology and Mines Service Rodrigo Alvarez explained, “This third eruption does not mean the eruptive situation of the Calbuco volcano is over.”
“This emission should begin to weaken in the coming hours… but we are in an eruptive process, on red alert, and the situation can change at any time.”
When Calbuco erupted last week, residents were shocked. The volcano had remained generally inactive for the past 54 years. Officials rushed to get over 6,000 people to safety, but perhaps more impressive was the effort to save local animals.
According to CNN, locals saved salmon, fearing that ash and debris from the volcano would contaminate the water. Likewise, residents brought in trucks to save farmer animals and pets.
One resident from the now-evacuated tourist town of Puerto Montt explained the eruption was a frightening sight.
“At the beginning, it was small, and later, the cloud grew. And later, there was a huge cloud over you and true terror starts.”
Another person explained to CNN, “It was impressive to see an enormous mushroom cloud, with the immense force of the volcano, and to see the ashes. At that point, there was a lot of panic, lots of chaos, traffic jams, people going to supermarkets, everyone looking for water, trying to take out money from the ATMs.”
Chile contains about 90 active volcanoes along its narrow landmass. The last time Calbuco erupted was in 1961. It showed light activity in 1972 and, in 1996, it released small amounts of gas and smoke. Residents now must continue to wait while Calbuco volcano calms down and they can continue with their lives.
[Image Credit: Aeveraal/Wikimedia Commons]