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Guatemalan Volcano Erupts

January 17, 2000

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) _ The Pacaya Volcano, the most active in Guatemala, erupted Sunday, spurting lava and sending glowing bursts into the air.

Residents in the nearby towns of El Caracol and Patrocino were put on alert and warned to be ready to evacuate if needed.

The volcano, 15 miles south of Guatemala City, erupted at 4:15 p.m. with a 500-foot burst of lava.

Glowing lava flowed south from the volcano toward El Caracol, officials at the local seismological station reported. Part of the crater appeared to have been destroyed.

The volcano sent ash soaring as high as 6,500 feet and volcano experts warned that activity could increase. Guatemala’s national disaster response team said it was monitoring developments and would evacuate local residents if necessary.

Pacaya is the most active of Guatemala’s 32 volcanoes, with three lava flows formed in eruptions between 1989 and 1991.

In 1998, the 8,373 feet volcano twice spewed up plumes of ash, forcing evacuations and shutting down the airport in Guatemala City.

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