(BIGSTORY.AP.ORG/ARTICLE/A9C0BB14A12545DC8FC69940A4FD56B2/VOLCANO-SOUTHERN-CHILE-ERUPTS-THOUSANDS-EVACUATED) — PUCON, Chile (AP) — 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.
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. Authorities worried that mudslides caused by melting snow could endanger nearby communities.
The 9,000 foot (2,847-meter) volcano in Chile's central valley, 400 miles (670 kilometers) south of Santiago, sits above the small city of Pucon, which has a population of about 22,000 people.
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