The cloud hovered low over the town of Pozo Almonte in northern Chile. It is not specified how long this cloud hung over the city, but it is reported that authorities are currently investigating this mysterious phenomenon, for which no official statement has yet been made.
Among the theories, the main one is considered to be a pump failure at a local mining plant, namely the leakage of iodine vapor from the Cala Cala mine.
“We’re running an audit that tells us this incident is likely due to an impeller pump motor failure,” said Cristian Ibanez, deputy head of Chile’s Tarapaca region.
Conservationist Emanuel Ybarra added that a pump failure caused the plant’s iodine to change from a solid to a gas, causing a fluorescent glow to appear over the heads of local residents.
“We are in contact with the Environmental Protection Agency to assess tomorrow the filing of a complaint about non-compliance with the rules and obligations assumed by the company in matters of environmental protection,” said Daniel Quinteros, a representative of the Tarapaca region.
He was also quick to reassure the public that the cloud was not dangerous to human health:
“So far there have been no medical consultations or complaints as a result of the situation we are facing.”
Local residents, meanwhile, began to panic, especially after firefighters drove up to the plant.
They were reassured and told that security teams and assessors would be on site for 48 hours assessing the situation. They were also assured that the cloud would dissipate soon.