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Volcano rumblings prompt air traffic alert in Guatemala

View of the Fuego Volcano, as seen from Alotenango, Guatemala, on May 5, 2023
View of the Fuego Volcano, as seen from Alotenango, Guatemala, on May 5, 2023 - Copyright AFP Maria Panorma KONTOU
View of the Fuego Volcano, as seen from Alotenango, Guatemala, on May 5, 2023 - Copyright AFP Maria Panorma KONTOU

One of the most active volcanoes in Central America spewed gas and ash on Sunday, prompting Guatemalan authorities to warn air traffic and tourists to take extra precautions.

The volcano named Fuego — located 35 kilometers (22 miles) from capital Guatemala City — saw “weak and moderate explosions occurring at a rate of four to seven per hour,” said the Institute of Volcanology (Insivumeh).

It added in a statement that the explosions generated columns of gas and ash up to 4,800 meters (15,700 feet) above sea level. 

The government agency recommended air traffic at altitudes below 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) to “take precautions” within 30 kilometers (19 miles) of Fuego and the nearby Santiaguito volcano.

It also alerted tourism agencies to the dangers of activities such as climbing close to Fuego and other volcanoes.

Insivumeh said some “fine ash” had fallen in towns to the east and northeast of the volcano, while some homes felt vibrations due to the rumblings.

The 3,760-meter (12,335-foot) Fuego erupts every four to five years on average.

In 2018, an eruption sent rivers of lava pouring down its sides, devastating the village of San Miguel Los Lotes, killing 215 people and leaving a similar number missing.

AFP
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