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New eruptions from Chile volcano

Published 30/04/2015

The Calbuco volcano erupts near Puerto Varas, Chile (AP)
The Calbuco volcano erupts near Puerto Varas, Chile (AP)

The Calbuco volcano has erupted again, sending bursts of ash and hot rock billowing into the air and prompting Chilean officials to order a new evacuation of nearby residents.

A thick plume poured from the 6,500ft cone, bringing the threat of heavy ash fall over villagers struggling to clean up from two huge blasts last week.

The eruptions at the Calbuco are the first in more than four decades. About 4,500 people have been evacuated since the Calbuco roared back to life on April 22, sending ash about 11 miles into the sky.

"This latest eruption is much smaller than the other two," Deputy Interior Minister Mahmud Aleuy said at a press conference, adding that while the situation is not dangerous so far, some 2,500 people will be evacuated.

"We're talking about a plume that is about four kilometres and that is directed toward the southern part of the volcano, so we shouldn't have major problems except for those who live in the south of the volcano and who will be hit by ash."

The director of the National Mining and Geology service said that new eruptions greater than those last week are not expected. But he warned that rains could lead to devastating volcanic mud, known as lahars, which are capable of levelling anything in their path once in motion.

"Lahars are possible if we get heavy rains, so it's still a concern," said Rodrigo Alvarez, the head of the service. "This eruption should begin to lessen in the coming hours and we'll have new forecasts. For now we remain on high alert."

Residents are bracing for rain forecast to fall tomorrow.

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