Last updated: 12:13 PM ET, Thu April 23 2015

Chilean Tourist Destinations Under Alert After Calbuco Volcano Eruption

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | April 23, 2015

Chilean Tourist Destinations Under Alert After Calbuco Volcano Eruption

PHOTO: This photo shows just how close the volcano eruption is to the nearby towns. (courtesy Twitter)

Authorities have evacuated as many as 1,500 people within a 12-mile radius in southern Chile following the unexpected eruption of the Calbuco volcano on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

The eruption signalled the volcano's first in more than four decades and led the National Mining and Geology Service to issue a high alert for the surrounding areas. As of late day Wednesday, large amounts of ash were the primary concern. 

According to CNN's Ed Payne, the National Mining and Geology Service reports that the volcano erupted twice in the short period of 24 hours. 

The eruption is of significant concern considering the Calbuco volcano is situated near popular tourist towns Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt, roughly 600 miles south of Chile's capital, Santiago. Reuters reports that LATAM Airlines canceled flights to and from the city as a result of the ash threat. Puerto Montt, a popular stopover en route to the Patagonia region, is already covered in ash.

Residents and travelers alike, including Twitter user Sean Morton, were surprised to learn of the event.

Wednesday's scare comes on the heels of last month's Villarica eruption in southern Chile. 

"This is clearly a much larger eruption than the one we saw with the Villarica some weeks ago and therefore we need to take bigger and faster measures," said the nation's Interior and Security Minister Rodrigo Penailillo via the AP.

The below video from RT on YouTube shows a timelapse of Wednesday's violent eruption:

Of the dozens of volcanoes present in Chile, the Calbuco volcano is considered to be among the three that pose the biggest threat. However, prior to this week, it hadn't erupted since 1972. 

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