The Villarrica Volcano in southern Chile, which erupted earlier this month before settling down, has entered a more active phase again, expelling gas and ash into the atmosphere, Chilean authorities said on 18 March.

Villarrica, located near the popular tourist resort of Pucon around 750km south of the capital Santiago, is among the most active in South America.

A school located within the volcano zone was evacuated as a precautionary measure.

On 3 March a short-lived eruption of ash and rock led to the evacuation of thousands from the nearby area.

But Rodrigo Alvarez, director of the National Geology and Mining Service (SERNAGEOMIN), said that the volcano was expected to have less severe activity than it had earlier this month.

"This time we estimate that it can go from a Strombolian eruption, from its first pulse, to one of a Hawaiian character where we could have a runoff of lava with a lower level of severity in that it will not be ejected from the crater in the same way it was on March 3," said Alvarez while speaking at a news conference in Santiago.

Ricardo Toro from Chile's National Emergency Office said that while on yellow alert residents in the affected area could continue with everyday activities.

Experts said the volcano would likely become more active in coming hours, with lava expected overnight, but a major event was not expected.