Last updated: 04:15 PM ET, Fri April 24 2015

'New Eruptive Pulse' at Chile's Calbuco Volcano, Say Authorities

Impacting Travel | Brian Major | April 24, 2015

'New Eruptive Pulse' at Chile's Calbuco Volcano, Say Authorities

PHOTO: Calbuco volcano via Twitter

Chile’s Calbuco volcano issued a “new eruptive pulse” around 1 a.m. Friday morning, Chilean government officials said today. Pyroclastic pumice and ash fell in the Los Lagos, Los Ríos and Araucania regions during the event, reaching Argentine territory. A “volcanic alert level red” remains in place in the 12-mile exclusion zone designated by authorities following Tuesday’s eruption.

A state of emergency also remains in place in the province of Llanquihue and the town of Puerto Octay according to officials at Chile’s Ministry of the Interior and Public Security. The ministry is directing “a coordinated effort between regional and national authorities and its citizens, which is allowing for fast and preventive measures.”

The volcano is located in Chile Lakes region near the intersection of the tourist towns of Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt, between the Llanquihue and Chapo lakes. The zone also includes the international road between Puerto Varas and San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina.

Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport is operating normally and federal aviation officials have not issued restrictions for flights to and from Puerto Montt. Some commercial airlines, said interior ministry officials, have independently limited flights to Chile’s Lakes Region. Other flights to and from southern Chile are operating normally.

Authorities have evacuated 4,433 people in the Las Lagos region, with 273 remaining in shelters. Officials have also distributed masks, mattresses, blankets, toiletries, rations and water to the municipalities of Puerto Varas, Puerto Montt, Puerto Octay and Cochamo. The rural water system in the Araucania region, town of Villarrica, has been suspended as a precaution due to ash fall.

Photo: The international road between Puerto Varas and San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina is part of the 12-mile Calbuco volcano zone. (Photo by Brian Major).

Villaricca was the site of the most recent volcano eruption prior to Calbuco, when “low height and volume” explosions occurred on March 4. Villarrica is one of Chile’s most active volcanos and is “permanently and rigorously monitored through 22 surveillance systems," according to Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s president.

Conversely, the Calbuco volcano had not erupted since 1972. Chile’s interior minister this week described Calbuco’s explosion as “clearly much larger than the one we saw with the Villarica some weeks ago.”

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