Chile's Lascar volcano erupts for first time in 30 years

The eruption caused minor tremors and spewed gas and ash 6,000 metres into the air

The Lascar volcano in Chile spews a stream of ash and hot gases during an eruption on December 10, 2022. AFP
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A volcano in the Andes in Chile's north rumbled to life on Saturday, triggering minor earth tremors and sending a plume of smoke and ash thousands of metres into the sky.

Chile's National Geology and Mining Service reported that the Lascar volcano stirred at 12.36pm.

The volcano sent "an eruptive column" of volcanic ash and hot gases 6,000 metres above its crater, the service said.

Authorities raised an alert level to yellow, indicating elevated volcanic activity, and established a no-entry perimeter 5km around the crater.

They also alerted air traffic to the drifting plume.

Authorities stayed in close contact with officials in Talabre, a town 30km from the volcano, in case evacuations were required. But no property damage was reported.

Lascar, with an elevation of 5,592m above sea level, is 70km from San Pedro de Atacama, a popular tourist centre that draws visitors for trekking, amateur astronomy and visits to the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth.

Lascar erupted in 1993 but also displayed lesser volcanic activity in 2006 and 2015.

Farther to the south, yellow alerts remain in effect for regions around the Nevados de Chillan volcanic complex and the Villarrica volcano.

Updated: December 11, 2022, 5:19 AM