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Lascar Volcano in the Chilean Andes swirls, belching smoke and ash 6km up

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A volcano in the Andes in northern Chile rumbled early Saturday. (Representative)

Santiago, Chile:

A volcano in the Andes in northern Chile rumbled early Saturday, triggering minor earthquakes and sending a plume of smoke and ash 6,000 meters (nearly 20,000 feet) into clear skies.

Chile’s National Geology and Mining Service reported that at 00:36 (1536 GMT), the Lascar volcano agitated.

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

Authorities raised an alert level to “yellow”, indicating high volcanic activity, and established a five-kilometre (three-mile) no-entry perimeter around the crater.

They also alerted aircraft to the drifting plume.

Authorities have remained in close contact with officials in Talabre, a town 30 kilometers from the volcano, in case evacuations are needed. But no material damage was reported.

Lascar, with an elevation of 5,592 meters above sea level, is 70 kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama, a popular tourist center that attracts visitors for trekking, amateur astronomy and desert tours of Atacama, the driest place on earth.

Lascar erupted in 1993 but also had less volcanic activity in 2006 and 2015.

Further south, yellow alerts remain in effect for areas around the Nevados de Chillan volcanic complex and Villarrica volcano.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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