Bummed out by winter? Try running from a volcano! Ash and lava spew from the Villarrica volcano, as seen from Pucon town in the south of Santiago (Reuters)
Bummed out by winter? Try running from a volcano!
Lexile

One of South America's most active volcanoes has erupted. It is located in southern Chile. It was spewing heavy smoke into the air as lava surged down its slopes. The volcano has prompted authorities to evacuate thousands of people.

Authorities worried that mudslides caused by melting snow could endanger nearby communities.

The Villarrica volcano erupted early Tuesday. That is according to the National Emergency Office, which ordered evacuations. Media showed images of the volcano bursting at the top. It was glowing in the dark amid heavy smoke and rivers of lava.

The 9,000 foot volcano is in Chile's central valley, 400 miles south of Santiago. It sits above the small city of Pucon, which has a population of about 22,000.

Chilean authorities had issued an orange alert on Monday because of increased activity at the volcano. About 3,500 people have been evacuated. Those include tourists, said Interior and Security Minister Rodrigo Penailillo.

Penailillo warned that the eruption had caused numerous rivers in the area to rise as snow along the sides of the volcano began melting. Villarrica is covered by a glacier cap. The cap covers some 15 square miles and snow is from about 5,000 feet on up.

Authorities were keeping an eye on four nearby communities that could be endangered by mudslides as the snow melts.

Tourists flock to the area around Villarrica for outdoor activities like kayaking, horseback riding, fishing and hiking around the volcano. It last had a major eruption in 1984. Dozens of tourists were among those evacuated.

President Michelle Bachelet announced that she will travel to the volcano-hit area to check on safety preparations. She asked residents to remain calm.

The Villarrica has a crater of about 200 yards in diameter and a lake of lava about 150 yards deep. It has eruptions every 10 or 15 years.

Chile has more than 2,000 volcanoes in the Andes cordillera. About 90 of them remain active. Villarrica is considered among the country's most dangerous.

Critical thinking challenge: What makes the area around Villarrica good for hiking?

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COMMENTS (82)
  • GigiSylvester-Ste
    3/08/2015 - 11:33 a.m.

    Wow, Even if i didn't like snow, id rather live in a snow storm than a volcano eruption. A snow storm can only last so long before it eventually has to stop, but a volcano can just keep going and going. I personally love snow, and it can snow forever for all i care!

    • DavisShawn-DiB
      3/10/2015 - 11:02 a.m.

      I love snow to but there is an volcano that erupts the snow melts and for that you can't really enjoy the snow like you would want every year.

  • JackD-3
    3/08/2015 - 09:19 p.m.

    This article was about how a volcano is endangering the people in this town because it just erupted.
    This volcano is an active on in Chile. Because it erupted, the snow on the mountain melted. This caused the rivers in the nearby towns to overflow. Many people have evacuated this town because of the volcano and floods.

    I hope the town and people in it stay safe. I also hope that the volcano doesn't burn down the entire town either.

    • DavisShawn-DiB
      3/10/2015 - 10:59 a.m.

      This article is very cool when you actual see the cool things that come out of the earth when it cools down. Some of the rocks can be very rare and really expensive because they cant be found anywhere else unless you go out of the country.

  • KageF-Kut
    3/09/2015 - 10:56 a.m.

    If I ever were to live in Chile I wouldn't want to live near an active volcano because according to the article, volcanoes can do a lot of serious damage to small towns or cities.

  • arifv-Tho
    3/09/2015 - 11:39 a.m.

    I wouldn't be standing right under because it could burn though your skin. The smoke can harm your lungs. I feel bad for the people that live in that area.

  • MiaM-Kut
    3/09/2015 - 11:52 a.m.

    I wonder if the nearby town was overflowed with lava or snow? It must have been hard if you were hiking and suddenly a warning comes out. I wonder if that place was destroyed?

  • alison.richardson63
    3/09/2015 - 01:03 p.m.

    I honestly am terrified of volcanoes and I would never live by one even if it was not active. I also find it kind of strange that their biggest worry is melted snow because there are still more stages of volcano eruption for instance there is all of the volcanic ash that can suffocate cities, but usually when a volcano starts its first stage of eruption it takes about 10 years to finish its last stage.

  • mykelm-Che
    3/09/2015 - 01:50 p.m.

    I wonder if the nearby town was overflowed with lava or snow? It must have been real fun but scary too know lava is about to come right towards you. I wonder if that place was destroyed?

  • DT00x3
    3/10/2015 - 08:43 a.m.

    The area around Villarrica is a good area for hiking because since there is a volcano there you can find things the volcano has made around that area or discover really neat things that survive because of the volcano.

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