The Calbuco volcano has erupted sending massive plumes and columns of smoke, ash, and debris miles into the air, reports indicate. The volcano, which is located in the southern portion of Chile, prompted a red alert, and the evacuation of nearly 4,000 people. The eruption sparked some of the most spectacular photos one could imagine, but the eruption also was completely unplanned for. Local agencies, national agencies, and even some of the larger entities throughout the region beyond Chile, hadn’t expected anything to happen with this particular volcano.
It had remained inactive for decades since the last eruption, but now has erupted twice in just a few hours. The concern at this point is ensuring the safety and placement of the proper resources to deal with what is happening. Flights throughout the region have been forced to remain grounded, and due to the size of the cloud the impacts could be catastrophic in the long term. It’s unclear at this juncture how long the eruption will continue though, as it only just began a few hours ago and caught everyone completely off guard.
1961 was the last time Calbuco erupted and at the time, was not as significant as this particular eruption, which early estimations say could be one of the most intense eruptions in recent planetary memory. Argentina was also impacted by the eruption, having flights and areas evacuated as the cloud of ash, and volcanic rock became missiles being heaved 15km into the sky in some instances.
It’s unclear at this point what the true long-term impact will be throughout the region, but this should have a pretty significant impact on the short-term. First, officials will have to wait for the volcano to slow down and at that point an evaluation process can begin. Right now it’s unclear how long that might take, though. Officials pointed out that the initial column from the eruption should begin to clear out in the coming hours, and as that happens it will be carried northward. At that point teams will be able to make a better judgment of the situation.