Disasters & Accidents

Fresh Pacaya activity blows ash 500 meters above crater

Guatemala City, Mar 3 (efe-epa).- One of Guatemala’s most active volcanos, Pacaya, increased in activity Wednesday with the launch of volcanic material at high altitude and ash dispersed up to 25 kilometers from its crater.

The high level of activity expelled “ballistics” up to 500 meters above its crater, the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology said.

The column of ash and gases reached 3,500 meters above sea level and ashfall was reported in the neighboring communities El Patrocinio and El Rodeo, with the possibility of reaching those further afield.

Two new lava flows also formed, for a total of three, reaching between 800-1,000 meters in length.

At 2,552 meters high and located between the departments of Guatemala and Escuintla, Pacaya volcano’s activity began on Feb. 19, the spokesman for the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction, David de León, recalled.

Due to the activity of the volcano, the authorities recommended to the General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics to take the necessary precautions with air traffic due to the presence of ash.

De León said that the National Park located on the slopes of the cone will also be closed to tourists.

The site, which is an attraction for both foreigners and Guatemalans, was declared a National Park on July 20, 1963 and is about 47.5 kilometers south of Guatemala City.

One of its largest eruptions was recorded on May 27, 2010 and caused the death of two people, including a Guatemalan journalist.

The other two active volcanoes in Guatemala, Fuego and Santiaguito, have also erupted this year. EFE-EPA


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