SANTIAGO, Chile – One of South America’s most active volcanoes erupted early Tuesday in southern Chile, spewing heavy smoke into the air as lava surged down its slopes, prompting authorities to evacuate thousands of people. Authorities worried that mudslides caused by melting snow could endanger nearby communities.
The Villarrica volcano erupted around 3 a.m. local time, according to the National Emergency Office, which issued a red alert and ordered evacuations. Local media showed images of the volcano bursting at the top, glowing in the dark amid heavy smoke and rivers of lava.
The 9,000 foot volcano in Chile’s central valley, 400 miles south of Santiago, sits above the small city of Pucon, which has a population of about 22,000 people.
Chilean authorities had issued an orange alert on Monday because of increased activity at the volcano. About 3,500 people have been evacuated so far, including tourists, said Interior and Security Minister Rodrigo Penailillo.
Penailillo warned that the eruption had caused numerous rivers in the area to rise as snow along the sides of the volcano began melting. Villarrica is covered by a glacier cap covering some 15 square miles and snow from about about 5,000 feet on up.
Authorities were keeping an eye on four nearby communities that could be endangered by mudslides as the snow melts.
Tourists flock to the area around Villarrica for outdoor activities like kayaking, horseback riding, fishing and hiking around the volcano, which last had a major eruption in 1984. Dozens of tourists were among those evacuated.
President Michelle Bachelet announced that she will travel to the volcano-hit area to check on safety preparations and asked residents to remain calm.
The Villarrica has a crater of about 200 yards in diameter and a lake of lava about 150 yards deep. It has periodic eruptions every 10 or 15 years.
Chile has more than 2,000 volcanoes in the Andes cordillera and about 90 of them remain active. Villarrica is considered among the country’s most dangerous.
Kim Jong Un reportedly tells North Korean army to ‘prepare for war’ with US
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly told the army to prepare for war with the United States and its allies, state media reported Saturday, according to AFP.
“The prevailing situation where a great war for national reunification is at hand requires all the KPA (Korean People’s Army) units to become (elite) Guard Units fully prepared for war politically and ideologically, in military technique and materially,” he said, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
Kim reportedly told the army to train to “tear to pieces the Stars Stripes.”
According to AFP, Kim’s comments came after a recent joint naval drill between South Korea and the U.S., and ahead of large-scale military exercises.
North Korea condemns the drills as rehearsals for invasion, the report said.
Kim made his remarks at an opening for a new hall at the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyongyang, KCNA said, according to AFP.
26-year-old’s heart attack linked to energy drink
A healthy 26-year-old man in Texas who suffered a heart attack might be able to blame his condition on his daily habit of drinking energy drinks, according to a new report of the case.
The man told the health care workers who treated him that on the day of his heart attack he had downed eight to 10 energy drinks — and that he did that on most days, according to the case report. It’s possible that the man’s excessive energy drink intake caused a blood clot to form that partially blocked a blood vessel near his heart, leading to the heart attack, according to the case report.
“Energy drink consumption is a growing health concern due to limited regulation and increasing use, especially in younger demographics,” the researchers wrote in the case report. “With substantially higher caffeine content than soft drinks or coffee beverages, as well as [containing] other poorly studied substances, there is significant potential for harm, especially when consumed in large quantities.”
The man arrived at a hospital nine hours after he began having chest pain. His left arm felt numb, he was sweating profusely and he reported vomiting prior to his arrival at the hospital.