Chile’s Lascar volcano erupts for the first time in 30 years

(ORDO NEWS) — A volcano in the Andes in northern Chile has come to life, causing small tremors and sending a plume of smoke and ash thousands of meters into the sky.

The National Service of Geology and Mining of Chile reported that the Lascar volcano woke up at 12.36 pm.

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

Authorities have raised the alert level to amber, indicating increased volcanic activity, and have issued a travel ban for 5km around the crater.

They also alerted aviation to a drifting plume.

The authorities maintained close contact with the authorities of Talabre, a town 30 km from the volcano, in case evacuation was necessary. But no material damage was reported.

Lascar, at 5,592 meters above sea level, is 70 km from San Pedro de Atacama, a popular tourist destination for trekking, amateur astronomy and visiting the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth.

Lascar erupted in 1993, but also showed less volcanic activity in 2006 and 2015.

Further south, a yellow alert level remains for regions around the Nevados de Chillán volcanic complex and Villarrica volcano.

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