Pacaya volcano erupts in Guatemala

Residents of El Patrocinio watch as a column of fire bursts from the crater of the Pacaya Volcano, on March 1, 2000
Residents of El Patrocinio, some 45 kms south of Guatemala City, watch as a column of fire bursts from the crater of the Pacaya Volcano, on March 1, 2000. Guatamala's Pacaya volcano erupted early Thursday, sending volcanic material more than 400 meters in the air, authorities said.

Guatamala's Pacaya volcano erupted early Thursday, sending volcanic material more than 400 meters in the air, authorities said.

The Institute of Vulcanology warned that the eruption could intensify with ash rising as high as 1,000 to 2,000 meters, posing a threat to air traffic at Guatemala's international airport.

"Ash could spread over Guatemala City due to the direction of the wind," the country's office said in a statement.

The last of Pacaya in May 2010 claimed the life of a television journalist, drove thousands of people from their home, and forced the closure of the Guatemala City airport for five days.

The 8,373-foot (2,552 meter) high Pacaya is 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the capital. It is one of three in Guatemala.

© 2013 AFP

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