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Guatemala volcano erupts

(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) Guatemala's Santiaguito volcano, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) west of the capital Guatemala City, showed increasing signs of activity on Wednesday (November 28) as it spewed ash over nearby communities, authorities reported. According to Guatemala's Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH), the huge volcano spewed white columns of smoke up to 5,000 metres (16,400 feet) into the sky and capable of reaching distances as far as 25 km (15 miles) away. Volcanic ash fell across the city of Retalhuleu, blanketing cars with a layer of dust. The authorities also reported considerable ash fall in the nearby towns of El Rosario and San Marcos Palajunoj as winds push volcanic dust out into urban areas. No official evacuation notice has been issued, but officials warned locals to avoid drinking water into which ash may have fallen and restricted traffic to some areas around the volcano. Constant activity at Santiaguito volcano has been recorded for much of 2012 with major eruptions recorded in April and July. The volcano is about 2,500 metres (7,500 feet) high and is part of a chain of active volcanoes along the edge of Guatemala's Maya Indian highland. In 1929, Santiaguito's dome collapsed during a volcanic explosion, leading to lava flows which killed an estimated 5,000 people.

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