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Villarrica Volcano Erupts In Fiery Explosion, Displaces Thousands

Villarrica Volcano Eruption 2015

In southern Chile, the Villarrica volcano has erupted, forcing what the Straits Times reports to be some 3,600 people from neighboring towns.

The eruption marks the volcano’s first major eruption in 15-years. The last major eruption took place in 2000 and before that, in 1984.

Volcanoes are ruptures on the Earth’s crust which allow hot lava, volcanic ashes and gases to escape from a magma chamber located below the planet’s surface.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet held an early morning meeting in Santiago with the country’s emergency committee regarding the natural disaster. Later, she flew into the region to meet with local officials.

While meeting with local officials in the area of the eruption, the president indicated that “it has calmed down,” but it is still an active volcano.

In response to the disaster, Bachelet declared an “agricultural emergency” in the region which enables local governments to access the country’s emergency funds. The funds are intended to be used in the combat of drought and to deal with the effects of the eruption.

BBC reported that the volcanic eruption, which took place on Tuesday, resulted in the spewing of fiery plumes of lava and ash, with a column of ash rising as high as 3,300-feet above Villarrica.

Roads in the area were closed as inhabitants evacuated to shelters and designated safe zones.

Schools in Villarrica, Pucon, Curarrehue and Conaripe remain closed.

The Villarrica volcano is considered to be one of the most active volcanoes in South America and in recent weeks, it showed signs of activity as minor explosions and ash emissions occurred.

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