Chilean authorities have issued a Yellow Alert for the communes of Villarrica, Pucón, and Curarrehue in the region of La Araucanía, and for Panguipulli, in Los Ríos after an increase in activity by the Villarrica volcano was detected.
Chile's National Geology and Mining Service of Chile (Sernageomin) and the National Emergency Office of the Ministry of the Interior (Onemi) Tuesday adopted the measure after an increase of explosive activity and relevant morphological observations were detected.
Both agencies agreed to raise the alert to Yellow level because ”during the last weeks and after the instrumental analysis reported through its National Volcanic Surveillance Network (RNVV), an increase of explosive activity and relevant morphological observations were observed, it was explained through a statement which also mentioned a probable zone of affectation by volcanic products corresponding to a radius of 500 m with respect to the center of the active crater.
This change of alert is the product of an exhaustive analysis of our National Volcanic Surveillance Network and that shows an abnormal activity of the volcano and that justifies that we move to yellow technical alert, said Sernageomin Deputy Director of Geology Álvaro Amigo.
The important thing is that the various institutions of the National System for Disaster Prevention and Response have technical information of what is happening, including the map of potential hazards, he added.
Onemi Director Ricardo Toro also pointed out that we have determined to increase the Alert of the National System for Disaster Prevention and Response (SINAPRED), establishing Yellow for the communes of Villarrica, Pucón and Curarrehue, in the Region of La Araucanía, and the commune of Panguipulli, in the Region of Los Ríos, which implies the reinforcement of the technical monitoring of the behavior of the volcano, application of communal plans and availability of resources. Access to within 500 meters from the volcano's crater has been banned, Toro also explained while urging people to abide by these precautions.
The volcano is located entirely in Chilean territory in the Araucanía region near the Mamuil Malal border crossing to the Argentine province of Neuquén, just north of Junín de los Andes, where local authorities have also been advised to be attentive to the situation.
The Villarrica has an open conduit that contains a lake of fluctuating lava close to the surface, and therefore any change in its dynamics may cause sudden explosions that may affect the crater's surroundings,” Chilean authorities also reported.
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