The Llaima volcano in southern Chile erupted on Tuesday, sending up a huge plume of smoke and coating the surrounding wilderness park with ash, forcing the evacuation of dozens of tourists, emergency officials said.
There were no reports of damages or injuries.
The volcano is in the Araucania region in southern Chile, inside Conguillio National Park and about 50 miles (82 km) from the city of Temuco. Local television images showed a column of dark smoke visible from many miles away.
Before the eruption, people in the towns closest to the volcano said they heard loud noises underground.
"We've ordered the evacuation of more than 100 tourists that were in the Conguillio reserve, where a lot of ash has fallen, Carmen Fernandez, director of Chile's National Emergency Office, told reporters.
The emergency office said the volcano began erupting at 6:20pm (9.30pm GMT) and that lava was flowing down the eastern side of the mountain. An official at the emergency office said it was still unclear whether the eruption would be brief or sustained.
The 10,253-foot (3,125-metre) Llaima volcano, one of Chile's most active, has frequent moderate eruptions. (Reuters)