Expired News - Impacts of Calbuco eruptions stretch from Chile to Africa - The Weather Network
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Chile's Calbuco volcano erupts once again, 4,500 evacuated.

Impacts of Calbuco eruptions stretch from Chile to Africa

Katie Jones
Digital Reporter

Sunday, May 3, 2015, 9:36 AM - Regions of southern Chile face potentially dangerous conditions after the Calbuco volcano erupted for the third time in eight days.

A weekend of bad weather threatened to unleash acid rain and mudslides in the Los Lagos region, following the mountain's latest eruption on Thursday.

Volcanic ash advisories remain in effect for the area. A number of flights were cancelled due to the threatening effects that volcanic ash can have on jet engines.

Strong winds have carried debris from the blast to nearby towns, contaminating local drinking water supplies.

The latest blast on Thursday sent a thick plume of smoke and ash nearly 20 kilometres into the sky, prompting Chilean officials to order a new evacuation for approximately 1,500 people. 

Many residents were forced to leave their homes while still recovering and cleaning up from last week's back-to-back eruptions. Sernageomin, the Chilean organization responsible for the country's mining and geology research said on Friday that the volcano is expected to remain unstable for months. The instability would make further eruptions possible.

More than 4,500 residents have been displaced since the first blast occurred on April 22. The second burst came hours later, sparking interesting weather effects including volcanic lightning.

Though the latest eruption was not as strong as last week's events, a forecast filled with rain brings the added threat of a devastating aftermath.

Authorities have warned that heavy downpours would be enough to cause dangerous volcanic mudslides and mudflows, known as 'lahars', capable of wiping out homes, roads and anything else in its path.

Acid rain is also possible given the amount of ash and noxious gas in the atmosphere. Toxins and pollutants in the rain would be detrimental to local plant and wildlife, water sources, and even have the potential to corrode metal and stone.

RELATED: What happened to 'acid rain?'

A 20 km exclusion zone remains in effect for the area.

The ash and other volcanic debris reached as far as Argentina and Buenos Aires, piling up in some places to a depth of nearly one metre, the Ministry of Interior and Public Safety said. 

In the days since the eruptions, ash clouds from Calbuco have stretched across an ocean and more than one continent.


Particles unleashed by the eruptions, known as aerosols, have filtered through the air, creating stunning sunsets from Brazil all the way to South Africa. Natural disasters often release these excess particles into the atmosphere that intensify the colours of the sky when combined with the light of the sun at the end of the day. These particles can linger in the atmosphere for several months.

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