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chile volcano the next ompeii?

Chilean authorities are considering the possibility that Region X’s Chaitén Volcano, now in its eighth day of continuous eruption, might collapse and thus release a torrent of red-hot pyroclastic material (burning gas and rock) that could devastate the surrounding area. 

Very much a ‘worst case scenario,’ the possibility is nevertheless a very real one, vulcanologist Luis Lara of Chile’s National Geologic and Mining Service (SERNAGEOMIN) told reporters Thursday afternoon.

‘That’s precisely the reason we recommended that authorities define a restricted area, because this is a real possibility with volcanoes that are similar to Chaitén. We can’t offer any kind of probability that this will happen, or say for sure how things will play out. It’s a worst case scenario,’ said Lara.

There is indeed precedent for such concern, according to the SERNAGEOMIN official, who pointed out that similar volcanoes – in Mexico and the Philippines, for example – have collapsed on the seventh or eight day of continuous eruption.

‘Pompeii is in some ways similar,’ said Lara, referring to the Roman city famously destroyed in AD 79 by Mount Vesuvius. ‘There was a pyroclastic flow that resulted in the consequences we all know. That’s exactly the worst case scenario that we’ve defined here.’

The Patagonia Times – Patagonia News – CHILE VOLCANO SCENARIO “SIMILAR TO POMPEII”

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