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Archive for Thursday, April 19, 2007

Volcano rumbles to life

April 19, 2007

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— Thousands of people were evacuated after a long-dormant volcano erupted late Tuesday and again early Wednesday, provoking avalanches and floods that swept away houses and bridges.

People walk on a  road damaged by the eruption of Nevado del Huila volcado in Bajo Patico, Colombia. The long-dormant volcano erupted late Tuesday and early Wednesday, causing avalanches and floods that swept away houses and bridges and prompted thousands to evacuate.

People walk on a road damaged by the eruption of Nevado del Huila volcado in Bajo Patico, Colombia. The long-dormant volcano erupted late Tuesday and early Wednesday, causing avalanches and floods that swept away houses and bridges and prompted thousands to evacuate.

The Nevado del Huila volcano's eruptions were its first on record since Colombia was colonized by the Spanish 500 years ago.

There are about 10,000 people living in the area around the volcano, and about 3,500 had been evacuated, Luz Amanda Pulido, director of the national disaster office, told The Associated Press after flying over the volcano in southwest Colombia.

There were no reports of deaths or injuries.

The eruption sent an avalanche of rocks down the volcano's sides and into the Paez and Simbola rivers, causing them to flood.

Experts were not ruling out more eruptions.

"The seismic activity remains light but permanent, and we can't rule out another bigger event in the next hours or days," said Mario Ballesteros, director of the government's Institute for Geology and Mining.

The Nevado del Huila, which is topped with a crown of ice, is Colombia's third-highest peak at 18,484 feet. Located 170 miles southwest of Bogota, it became active again in March with a series of internal rumblings.

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