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This view from Frutillar, southern Chile, shows a high column of ash and lava spewing from the Calbuco volcano, on April 23, 2015. Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. | Getty Images

Photos: Calbuco volcano erupts in Earth Day explosion in Chile

SHARE Photos: Calbuco volcano erupts in Earth Day explosion in Chile
SHARE Photos: Calbuco volcano erupts in Earth Day explosion in Chile

Timelapse video of eruption

Photos of the Calbuco eruption

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View from Frutillar, southern Chile, of lava spewing from the Calbuco volcano, on April 23, 2015. Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. | Getty Images

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People watch from Puerto Varas, southern Chile, a high column of ash and lava spewing from the Calbuco volcano, on April 22, 2015. Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. Authorities ordered an evacuation for a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius around the volcano, which is the second in southern Chile to have a substantial eruption since March 3, when the Villarrica volcano emitted a brief but fiery burst of ash and lava. | Giordana Schmidt / Getty Images

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The Calbuco volcano is seen erupting from Puerto Varas, Chile, Wednesday, April 22, 2015. The volcano erupted billowing a huge ash cloud over a sparsely populated, mountainous area in southern Chile. Authorities ordered the evacuation of the inhabitants of the nearby town of Ensenada, along with residents of two smaller communities. | Carlos F. Gutierrez / AP

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View of the road to San Carlos de Bariloche, province of Rio Negro, 1570 km southwest of Buenos Aires, with a menacing ashes cloud from the Calbuco volcano in neighbouring Chile, on April 22, 2015. | Ramos Mejia / AFP / Getty Images

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Calbuco’s first eruption in 42 years

SANTIAGO, Chile — The Calbuco volcano erupted Wednesday for the first time in more than 42 years, billowing a huge ash cloud over a sparsely populated, mountainous area in southern Chile.

Authorities ordered the evacuation of the 1,500 inhabitants of the nearby town of Ensenada, along with residents of two smaller communities.

The National Mining and Geology Service issued a high alert, barring access to the area around the volcano, which lies near the cities of Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt, a little more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of Chile’s capital, Santiago.

“For us it was a surprise,” said Alejandro Verges, regional emergency director of the Los Lagos region where the eruption took place. He said Calbuco wasn’t under any special form of observation.

View from Puerto Montt, southern Chile, of a high column of ash and lava spewing from the Calbuco volcano, on April 22, 2015. Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. | Diego Main / AFP / Getty Images

Associated Press

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