Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Villarrica (Central Chile): SERNAGEOMIN reported weak strombolian activity during the past days and the presence of a small oscillating lava lake in the summit crater’s inner pit.

The explosions were limited to the crater area and ejected material to up to 100 m from the vent. A slight increase in activity was noted yesterday morning by local media. Bright glow is visible at the volcano’s summit at night.

The Alert Level remained at Orange and (the second highest level on a four-color scale) and a 5 km access restriction zone is in place. A major risk could be lahars caused by sudden melting of snow if more intense activity sets in.

Calbuco (Southern Chile and Argentina): The volcano has so far stayed calm, but the alert level remains at red because another explosion could occur. A major problem in this situation seems to be that eruptions such as the recent one are likely to remain something impossible to predict – at least in some cases.

It seems that the eruption on Wednesday evening was only preceded by 15 minutes (!) of an intense intense earthquake swarm that could reasonably have been served as a clear warning sign.

The twin blasts from the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile sent vast clouds of ash into the sky, covering this small town with thick soot and raising concerns on Thursday that the dust could contaminate water, cause respiratory illnesses and ground more flights.

Ensenada, in the foothills of the volcano, looked like a ghost town but for an occasional horse or dog roaming its only street. Most of the 1,500 residents had evacuated after the initial eruption Wednesday, with only about 30 people refusing to leave out of worry for their homes and animals.

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