Lascar Volcano in Chile stirs, sending plume skyward

Vista del volcán Lascar, en la región chilena de Antofagasta, durante un pulso eruptivo, el 10 de diciembre de 2022 – Copyright AFP Sergei GAPON

A volcano in the Andes in Chile’s north rumbled to life early Saturday, triggering minor earth tremors and sending a plume of smoke and ash 6,000 meters (nearly 20,000 feet) into a clear sky.

Chile’s National Geology and Mining Service reported that at 12:36 am (15:36 GMT) the Lascar Volcano stirred.

The volcano sent “an eruptive column” comprising volcanic ash and hot gases 6,000 meters above its crater, the service said.

Authorities alerted the nearest town, Talabre, 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the volcano, in case evacuations were required. But no property damage was reported, and the service maintained a green level, the lowest level of alert.

Lascar, with an elevation of 5,592 meters (18,346 feet) above sea level, is 70 kilometers (44 miles) from San Pedro de Atacama, a popular tourist center that draws visitors for trekking, amateur astronomy and visits to the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth.

Lascar erupted in 1993 but also had lesser volcanic activity in 2006 and 2015.

Farther to the south, yellow alerts remain in effect for regions around the Nevados de Chillan volcanic complex, 385 kilometers (240 miles) south of the capital of Santiago, and the Villarica Volcano 800 kilometers (500 miles) to the south.

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