On Wednesday, April 22 we were privileged to witness the eruption of Volcan Calbuco , the first time in 40+ years. The first eruption was about 6 PM. Never heard any explosions or felt any earthquakes but we were treated to a beautiful mushroom cloud of smoke and ash. I live about 80 miles away which is where this view was taken. See Volcan Osorno to the left. This eruption lasted about 90 minutes and sent the plume 10 km (6 miles) into the sky.

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Calbuco erupting

According to Wikipedia, Calbuco is a very explosive andesite volcano. Andesite is the type of black rock that comes out of the volcano. It is situated at the south end of Lago Llanquihue and is about 2100 meters high (6889 feet). It’s 1893 eruption was one of the largest ever in southern Chile ejecting debris 8 kilometers (5 miles) with many hot lahars (mud flows).

Here is another view at sunset as the cloud was dispersed by the winds. The colors were quite spectacular.

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Calbuco erupting at sunset

The second eruption happened at 1 AM the next morning. This eruption included spurting lava which flowed into Lago Chapo to the southest of the volcano. This eruption was more spectacular in the night sky as it was accompanied by much lightning and thunder. Most of the ash was blown to the northeast into the mountains and Argentina. The ash is not what I thought it would be, flaky like fireplace ash, this was heavy like sand and coated everything up to an inch at Antillanca and Volcan Casablanca about 125 miles northeast of Calbuco.

See this link for some spectacular night photos- scroll to the bottom.

About 4,000people were evacuated in a 20 km radius which prompted a closing of all schools in the area to house the evacuees. Instead of snow days, we have volcano days!