Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupted Wednesday for the first time in more than 40 years, spewing ash and smoke several miles into the sky.

Thousands of people were evacuated from Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas, southern towns that are popular tourist destinations, and a 12-mile exclusion zone was established around the crater.

Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo urged residents to leave the area and warned of possible lahars, water and rock fragments that could flow down the slopes of Calbuco.

Area schools are closed, and people have been instructed to stay indoors until further notice. There have been no reports of deaths or injuries.

Flights to and from the area have been canceled due to the presence of volcanic ash, which decreases visibility and can potentially damage aircraft.

The eruption was seen as far as 30 miles away, including in neighboring Argentina.

Photographers captured numerous shots vivid shots of the erupting volcano, as well as a remarkable time-lapse video, which you can see below.

Calbuco’s last major eruption was in 1962. There was also a minor eruption in 1972, and in 1996 the volcano released a bit of smoke and gas.

This week’s eruption is the first for many in the region, and while massive, it pales in comparison to Calbuco’s activity in 1893.

During that historical eruption, the volcano sent deadly 12-inch volcanic bombs into the air, some of which landed nearly 5 miles away. A volcanic bomb is a mass of lava that leaves the volcano in liquid form but cools and hardens into rock before it lands.

Below, take a look at some of the stunning images captured of Calbuco’s recent eruption.

volcanic eruption at night

Photo: Diego Main/Getty Images

volcano eruption

Photo: Sebastian Escobar

skyline of volcano eruption

Photo: Francisco Ramos Mejia

Volcano ash and smoke

Photo: Diego Main

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Laura Moss writes about a variety of topics with a focus on animals, science, language and culture. But she mostly writes about cats.

Calbuco volcano erupts, creates massive ash cloud
Chile's Calbuco volcano hasn't had a major eruption since 1962, but this event could be seen from 30 miles away.