Officials in Chile are investigating the appearance of a mysterious purple cloud that hung eerily over a town.
Photos show the bright purple cloud hovering low over Pozo Almonte, northern Chile, on Sunday morning (21st August).
Officials are now investigating the phenomenon, which is believed to have been caused by a pump failure at a minerals plant.
The cloud – which caused consternation in the community – is believed to have been comprised of iodine vapour.
It was observed close to the Cala Cala mine, which belongs to the Saltpetre and Iodine Company (Cosayach).
Christian Ibanez – deputy head of Chile’s Tarapaca Region – said: “We are carrying out an inspection, which tells us that this incident was due to the failure of a motor of the impeller pump.”
Environmental official Emanuel Ibarra said the pump failure had caused iodine at the plant to change from a solid to a gaseous state.
Tarapaca Region representative Daniel Quinteros said: “Until now, there have been no medical consultations or affectations as a result of the situation we are experiencing.”
He added: “We are also in contact with the Superintendency of Environment so that tomorrow we can evaluate the filing of a complaint for non-compliance with the regulations and the commitments made by the company in environmental matters.”
The cloud has since dispersed but officials remained on site for 48 hours to monitor the situation.
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Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Central European News
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