CLIMATE NATIONAL

High alert in Chile after increased activity at Villarrica volcano

Families living close to the volcano have been evacuated, schools in nearby Villarica and Pucón have been closed, and local hospital patients have been transferred elsewhere. According to experts, an eruption is likely.

An orange alert, the second-highest alert in Chile’s emergency warning system, was issued after increased activity at Villarica volcano in southern Chile was registered. The volcano, which is nearly 3000 meters tall and last erupted in 2015, was seen spitting lava and belching smoke.

All families living within a radius of 8 kilometers have been evacuated, and students at schools in the nearby towns of Villarica and Pucón have been sent home for the entire week. National parks near the volcano have also closed. Patients in the local hospital in Pucón were transferred to other hospitals in the Araucanía region.

The Villarica volcano is popular among tourists, who climb its snow-capped slopes. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Experts warn an eruption is likely.

Eruption is likely

According to geologist Christian Salazar, in an interview on show Buenos Días a Todos, Villarrica volcano already is “the most dangerous and active volcano in Chile, and there are always these two scenarios: that the activity increases or decreases, but the difference with this case is that in the last weeks it has been increasing.”

“The most probable scenario is that the current activity continues to increase and could trigger an eruption,” Salazar said.

Villarrica’s Ominous Designation

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