San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Nicaragua’s San Cristóbal volcano erupts

MANAGUA – San Cristóbal volcano, located 95 miles northwest of Managua, erupted Saturday at 8:30 a.m. with three powerful explosions, forcing the evacuation of some 3,000 people, officials from the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INETER) stated.

A column of smoke and ash reached nearly a mile above the cone of the volcano, the highest in Nicaragua with 1,745 meters. 

Some 3,000 people are being evacuated from five communities located in the volcano surroundings, said William González, director of the National System for Prevention and Disaster Mitigation (Sinapred).

INETER officials also registered 21 low-intensity volcano-related tremors at the Apoyeque Volcano, located northwest of the capital, between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, prompting the government to issue a yellow advisory alert.

Telica volcano, located in León (west), also recorded Thursday “a slight increase” in temperature – which normally stays between 200 and 250 degrees Celsius – to 450 C, INETER said.

Nicaragua has a total of 28 volcanoes, of which seven are active.

Since Thursday, when an earthquake of magnitude-7.6 rocked neighboring Costa Rica and was also felt in Nicaragua, INETER began surveillance at several active volcanoes, fearing the powerful quake would have an “impact on the activation” on the volcanoes.

Rosario Murillo, the first lady and government spokeswoman, said some U.S. experts have noted that the ash plume reaches 5,000 meters, which could be an indicator of potential for greater activity.

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