On Wednesday, two eruptions spewed forth from Chile’s Calbuco volcano, a stratovolcano southeast of Llanquihue Lake in the Los Lagos Region that hadn't erupted since 1972. The next day, another eruption rained heavy ash in the volcano’s vicinity, and Argentina’s meteorological service claimed the ash cloud may have shot as high as 40,000 feet. The explosion lasted 90 minutes and a flow of lava into Chapo Lake was reported on the same day.
Now, the town of Ensenada, located at the base of the volcano, is a ghost town buried in ash. Most of its 1,500 residents have abandoned the village, leaving only 30 people – and a few animals – behind.
No injuries have been reported, but many worry that the volcano’s ash could contaminate water, trigger respiratory illnesses or prevent flights.
The cloud of ash was so thick that a large, gray mass hovering around the volcano could be seen from outer space on Friday. NASA posted a picture of the phenomenon on Twitter.
The Calbuco volcano has had at least 10 eruptions since 1837; some of the largest in southern Chile took place in 1893-1894.
Check out photos of this week's eruption and the aftermath below:
â€” NASA Earth (@NASA_EO) April 24, 2015
â€” CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) April 24, 2015
— Andrew Bloch (@AndrewBloch) April 24, 2015
— The Guardian (@guardian) April 24, 2015
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 24, 2015