Dormant for over four decades, Chile’s Calbuco volcano began spewing ash into the sky on Wednesday. The eruption in southern Chile came as a surprise, Alejandro Verges, a regional emergency director, told the Associated Press via ABC News. Authorities have confirmed the volcano has spewed no lava or hot rocks.   

Social media was quick to capture the occasion:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The BBC reports that thousands of Chileans have been evacuated as a precaution. The volcanic activity prompted the nation to issue a red alert. The volcano is close to tourist destinations in Puerto Varas. Chile has about 500 active volcanoes, and Calbuco is considered one of the most active.

The early-morning eruption of the Villarrica volcano, also in the southern region, just last month was still more violent. Lava flowed from Villarica, and more than 3,500 people were forced to flee their homes. Fortunately, the eruption was short-lived and ended approximately 20 minutes after it began.

Here are videos that capture Calbuco Volcano’s towering ash clouds as they rise: