Popular Tourist Area in Chile Under Volcano Alert

Popular Tourist Area in Chile Under Volcano Alert

The Chilean volcano Villarrica, popular with travelers, hikers and climbers from around the world, is erupting once again, prompting the government to issue an orange alert for local villages. Villarrica, standing just a hair under 10,000 ft tall, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, with some well documented major eruptions occurring all too frequently in recent history.

Noteworthy activity first began on March 3rd, when a significant eruption took place in the early morning hours causing evacuations of thousands in the area. New activity has since returned sending plumes of ash thousands of feet into the air putting thousands at risk, including the local resort town of Pucon (about 750 kilometers south of Santiago), which is typically used as a base camp to explore the mountain and surrounding region.

Geothermal imagery hints that magma is inching closer to the surface, which could mean an eruption equal or greater in power to that that of the March 3rd explosion could happen at any moment. No one has died this month, but there are fears that the peak, which is covered in snow and ice, could melt rapidly if lava breaches the surface causing major mud and landslides which have killed hundreds over the past 100 years.

The orange alert was issued due to officials suggesting that the recent surge in activity could be hinting that a major eruption looms near on the horizon. The volcano isn’t the only draw in this Lake District of Chile, as there are countless waterfalls, hot springs and beautiful forests surrounded by imposing views of the Andes mountain range which appeal to locals just as much as world travelers. Not to mention, Pucon is one a fantastic spot for visitors to try some of Chile’s suddenly incredibly popular local wines.

Classes have been cancelled for students in the area over recent days, and tourists are encouraged to hold back their dreams of summiting Villarrica or spending time in the beautiful and popular Lake Villarrica area for a future, less ash filled day.

If you happen to be in Chile, the volcano is offering some fantastic photo opportunities, including some spectacular lightning strikes coming out from the ash cloud.