MANAGUA (Reuters) - Nicaragua's tallest volcano belched an ash cloud nearly a mile into the atmosphere on Saturday, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of nearby residents who heard explosions emanating from its crater.
The 5,725-foot (1,745-meter) San Cristobal volcano, which sits around 95 miles north of the capital Managua in the country's northwest, has been active in recent years, and stirred in mid-2008, when it expelled gas and rumbled with a series of small eruptions.
Government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said authorities were still assessing the strength of the volcanic activity, and said nearby residents were being evacuated. He said as many as 20,000 people could ultimately be affected by the gas and ash from the volcano.
(Reporting by Ivan Castro; Writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by Will Dunham)