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Guatemalan Lava Flow Sparks Evacuations January 17, 2014
Satellite Image
Lava flowing from Pacaya volcano on January 11, 2014.
Lava flowing down the flanks of Guatemala’s Pacaya volcano prompted the evacuation of people threatened by the eruption.

The country’s National Disaster Reduction Commission said residents of Villa Canales, El Chupadero and Pacaya were relocated to San Vicente Pacaya, a town at a safer distance from Pacaya, one of the country’s most active volcanoes.

Lava flows were said to be nearly 2,000 feet wide and 2 miles long just south of Guatemala City.

Small explosions and accompanying bursts of gas and ash were also produced by the restive volcano.

Guatemala has four active volcanoes that have caused catastrophic damage in the past.

The explosive eruption of Santa Maria in 1902 was one of the world's largest eruptions of the 20th century.

In 2010, a blast at Pacaya volcano coated the current capital, Guatemala City, in a thick layer of ash and rock. This forced hundreds of families to evacuate and officials to temporarily close the international airport.

Nearby Fuego (Fire) volcano sent pyroclastic flows of searing debris cascading down its slopes in May and June of 2012.

Photo: National Office for Disaster Reduction (Guatemala).