Volcano Villarrica erupted in southern Chile on Tuesday morning at about 3 a.m. local time. Prior to the eruption, 3,385 people were evacuated from their homes as a precaution.
On Monday officials observed volcanic activity in the volcano’s crater, prompting them to declare a “red alert.” No one was injured during the eruption, and when the volcano quieted down an hour after it began erupting everyone returned to their homes.
Villarrica’s eruption on Tuesday spewed ash and lava up to 1,000 meters into the air. Senior meteorologist at AccuWeather.com Jason Nicholls says that the volcanic ash from the eruption will probably spread to Buenos Aires and cover much of the less-populated parts of Argentina.
The 2,840-meter high Volcano Villarrica is a stratovolcano, formed by many layers of hardened lava and volcanic ash. Villarrica is rather unique because along with a conical shape that defines most stratovolcanoes, it also has a crater at its brim. The crater was formed when the edifice of the volcano collapsed. As one of Chile’s most active volcanoes, Villarrica is also one of the few volcanoes in the world with an active lava lake within its crater.
According to Chile’s Ministry of Mining, Villarrica’s last major eruption was in 1985.