Third Calbuco Volcano Eruption Forces Evacuations Again

The Calbuco volcano in Chile is forcing thousands of residents out of their homes again, shortly after many had just returned to clean up the initial eruption on April 22, 2015.

Calbuco Volcano Eruption First In Over 50 Years

The first and second eruption of the Calbuco Volcano sent 7.4-billion cubic feet of ash and smoke into the air over Southern Chile, disrupting air traffic as far away as Buenos Aires in Argentina. The first tower of ash traveled over 6 miles into the atmosphere, and in many places, a layer of ash, up to 2 feet high, has settled over the areas. The second eruption, occurring at night, sent spectacular shots of lava into the air that were accompanied by static electricity lightening bolts.

Third Calbuco Volcano Eruption Forces Evacuations Again

The area of the Calbuco volcano is sparsely populated, but popular among tourists because of its picturesque volcanic scenery and black sand lakes. Due to the volcanic eruptions, however, the towns of Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas were evacuated last week out to a 12-mile radius. The area is south about 800 miles from the capital city of Santiago. Around 4,000 people were asked to leave the area.

The Third Calbuco Volcano Eruption Is Smaller

Deputy of the Interior and Public Security, Minister Mahmud Aley, states that the third Calbuco volcano eruption was much smaller than the first two, although still cause for concern. They do not expect major problems to occur, but are keeping watch over the direction of travel of the ash clouds. Rodrigo Alvarez, head of the National Geology and Mines Service warned that the volcano remains unstable and that further eruptions could take place.

In the meantime, relief and clean up efforts have been under way and those in surrounding areas are wearing face masks to minimize the amount of ash they inhale. Respiratory problems caused by the ash are a huge concern. The weight of the ash has caused some buildings in Puerto Varas to collapse. Water contamination is also a significant worry as ash begins to clog waterways. Furthermore, the possibility of rain could lead to devastating flows of volcanic mud. Given these circumstances, experts state that it might take more than a year for earth to return to normal after the Calbuco volcano eruption.

Though not of the Calbuco, this film highlights the volcanic landscape of Chile: