Nicaragua volcano belches ash, causes fears of eruption
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AFP) - A large volcano in western Nicaragua, Momotombo, yesterday belched ash and gas up to a kilometre (3,000 feet) in the sky, sparking fears that the giant could be waking from a fitful 110-year-old slumber.
Nicaraguan First Lady Rosario Murillo, who also serves as the government's spokeswoman, confirmed the column of ash, but said during a visit to a state volcano research centre there were as yet no reports of lava flow.
Momotombo volcano stands 1,297 metres (4,255 feet) high, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the capital Managua, separated by a large lake called Lago Xolotlan.
Local residents have told media that the gases given off by the volcano were strong and were affecting at least five villages nearby.
Up to now, "Momotombo has been one of the calmest volcanoes" in the country, Murillo said. Its last big eruption dates back to 1905.
In 1980 the volcano emitted lava, but there was no eruptive explosion. In 2006 it emitted gases only.