Twenty quakes an hour at Peruvian volcano

Last updated 11:42 27/02/2013
Sabancaya Volcano, Peru
SPACE PHOTO: Sabancaya Volcano, in southern Peru, seen from space in this NASA image.

Relevant offers

World

Mentally stable at 38,000 feet: Can you trust your pilot? Germanwings crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz seemed to 'want to destroy' plane Building explosion in NYC triggers huge blaze; gas leak suspected Prince Charles' 'spider memos' set for release Smile, you just torched your yoga studio Germanwings plane crash: Bereaved families gather in French Alps Doorway to disaster on Germanwings Flight 9525 US agents went to drug cartel orgies World news while you were sleeping Germanwings crash: Mystery around co-pilot Andreas Lubitz

Hundreds of small earthquakes have shaken the earth around the Sabancaya volcano in southern Peru over just a few days and the rumbling, along with plumes of smoke spewing up to 100 metres high, have put officials on alert to evacuate the area.

Peru's geological agency Ingemmet recorded 536 quakes, about 20 an hour, on February 22 and 23 and periodic movement is ongoing.

Thousands of people live in the valleys surrounding the volcano.

Some have already started to leave the region because the unusual seismic activity has damaged their homes.

About 80 homes were damaged by one temblor on February 22, Peru's national defence office said.

The 6,000-metre volcano Sabancaya, which means "tongue of fire" in Quechua, has not had a significant eruption in nearly a decade.

It sits atop the South America tectonic plate, which forces magma to the surface when it clashes with the neighboring Nazca plate.

Ingemmet said the volcano has been releasing huge smoke trails intermittently since January 15 and current seismic activity is similar to that which accompanied an eruption in 1986.

Sabancaya, active historically, was dormant for 200 years before erupting into activity several times in the 1980s and 1990s. No casualties were reported at that and the volcano has only experienced small eruptions since.

Southern Peru is the home to more than a dozen volcanoes.

Sabancaya is about 100 kilometres from the city of Arequipa, one of Peru's three largest cities, which was recently hit by heavy rains and flooding.

About 1.2 million people live in that city. 

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content