A new fissure in the Guatemalan volcano of Pacaya today once again put residents of nearby communities and authorities of the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction on alert. The lava flow is moving rapidly in front of Cerro Chino and experts do not rule out episodes of high explosiveness in the next few hours.
The joy for the end of the eruptive phase, announced on April 23rd, did not last long for the villages located on the slopes of the colossus, particularly El Patrocinio and El Rodeo, the most affected by the fall of ash and volcanic material. The impressive rivers of lava threatened to reach the houses, and on the way they destroyed corn and bean crops along with the vegetation of the place.
According to the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (Insivumeh), this Thursday the Pacaya registered a change from explosive activity to a predominantly effusive one, with a new lava flow of about 200 meters in diameter that advances rapidly along the flank north of the volcanic formation.
Locomotive-like sounds are heard from the fissure, continuously degassing and some weak explosions with falling ash. The Pacaya is 2,552 meters high and is located about 47.5 kilometers south of this capital, in the department of Escuintla.
At the end of last March, a turn in the direction of the wind caused an ash rain in regions to the north of the cone, including Guatemala City, and the closure of La Aurora International Airport for 24 hours.
Closing of the Pacaya National Park
The Insivumeh recommended this past Thursday the closure of the Pacaya s again and prohibited access to the Mackenney crater due to the instability of the area recently affected by magma flows.
The previous eruption lasted almost three months and kept in suspense not only the municipality of San Vicente Pacaya, from which it takes its name, but also nearby departments such as Guatemala.