April 27, 2010

Volcano Showers Guatemala With Ash

The national seismological institute said the Santiaguito volcano showered sand and ash Monday over a large area of western Guatemala in an "unusual" and "violent" eruption.

It said that winds were carrying the ash in a northeasterly direction from the volcano, 7,500 feet above sea level in the province of Quetzaltenango, 123 miles west of the capital.

The institute said that the ash plume spread across six provinces, raising fears of damage to crops, while classes were suspended at schools in three provinces.

Alejandro Maldonado, the national disaster reduction coordination agency CONRED director, said it increased its alert level to orange, one level below the maximum red.

The volcanic activity propelled gray ash over 27,000 feet up into the air, and CONRED advised civil aviation authorities to ban flying within nine miles of the volcano.

Santiaguito's worst eruption occurred in 1929 and took the lives of 2,500 people.


Image Caption: Santiaguito volcano, seen from the summit of Santamaria, on August 21, 2004. Courtesy Wikipedia


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