Last week’s eruption of the Calbuco volcano in Chile was its first in more than four decades. Officials issued a red alert for a nearby city, Puerto Montt, and evacuated more than 1,500 people in a six-mile radius of the volcano—some 600 miles south of Santiago—as ash began to spew into the air.
Villarrica erupted earlier this week with a bang, spewing lava bombs and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.
Villarrica, one of Chile’s most active volcanoes, awoke with a vengeance this week, launching lava bombs and an ash cloud thousands of feet into the air. The nearby towns of Pucon and Conaripe were evacuated as a precaution.
This 9,330-foot-tall (2,850-meter) peak is known as a stratovolcano or a composite volcano, according to the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program. They’re formed by an accumulation of lava and other debris shot out of cracks and craters during eruptions.
A stratovolcano can have vents at its summit as well as along its flanks, and eruptions can occur through any one of them. More than 30 small cinder cones and vents dot the sides of Villarrica.
Watching such magnificent pictures can leave a person in utter awe and amazement, but it also makes one wonder, “Is this the beginning of the end?”