LIMA – The Ubinas volcano in the Andes of southern Peru erupted in a column of smoke, 2,700 meters (8,858 feet) high, scattering ashes up to a radius of 15 km (9.3 miles), the Peruvian Institute of Geophysics, or IGP, and National Institute of Geology, Mining and Metallurgy, or INGEMMET, announced on Thursday.
The explosion occurred at 15:34 local time (20:34 GMT), but data on duration or energy released is yet unknown.
The Scientific Committee of Permanent Monitoring Ubinas volcano, comprising the Southern Andes Volcano Observatory of the IGP and Volcanological Observatory of the INGEMMET, warned ashes will shift towards the Northeast and might affect the towns of Yalahua, Lloque, Chojata, Santa Rosa de Phara and Lucco, in the Arequipa region.
They noted the emission of ash was constant throughout the afternoon because of several exhalations and might continue in the next few hours in different volumes.
The experts recommended authorities to assess the impact of the ash falls and develop mitigation actions, including providing people with masks and lenses, as well as protecting water and food from contamination.
They also advised evaluation of the quality of the air and water in the regions of Arequipa and Moquegua as wind speed is variable at this time of the year and can disperse the ashes in different directions.