Stunning Nighttime Pictures of Chilean Volcano Erupting
Villarrica erupted earlier this week with a bang, spewing lava bombs and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.
This 9,330-foot-tall (2,850-meter) peak is known as a stratovolcano or a composite volcano, according to the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program. They're formed by an accumulation of lava and other debris shot out of cracks and craters during eruptions. (See stunning pictures of blue flames leaping from a volcano.)
A stratovolcano can have vents at its summit as well as along its flanks, and eruptions can occur through any one of them. More than 30 small cinder cones and vents dot the sides of Villarrica.
Major eruptions in 1985 and 1992 added lava layers and two new cones to Villarrica. Historical records of this volcano's eruptions go back to 1558. (Watch an underwater volcano form a new island near Japan.)
This week's eruption