"No Survivors": Guatemala Volcano Buries Entire Village, 65 Dead After Violent Eruption Spews Rivers Of Hot Lava
Volunteer firefighters waded though layers of ash that reached knee-deep in places, only to find the charred remains of those who had been unable to flee the torrent of burning rock and ash that poured down the slopes of the volcano, whose name means “fire.” -NYT
“My mother is buried there,” Inés López told a Guatemalan newspaper, Prensa Libre, standing amid the wreckage of his home. He was numb with grief. “What can I do to cry? My heart is hard, hard. All our family is here, buried,” he said waving his hand over the ruins. -NYT
As the day wore on, officials were forced to suspend some rescue operations because of the fear that the volcano might erupt again. The deep ravines on the volcano’s slopes were already filled with lava, Dr. Mazariegos said, and there was no way to tell how a new flow might spread.
Published photos from morning visits to the disaster zone showed images of ordinary life frozen under a coat of gray dust. In one house, balloons and chairs were arranged for a child’s birthday party. -NYT
The build-up of energy inside the volcano generated an explosion that resulted in a second, lower crater forming alongside the spewing Fuego basin. The torrent of molten lava stretched at least five miles long crushing bridges, roads and buildings in its path. The lava reached record temperatures of about 700C.
“Every time we lift off a metal roof a huge gush of steam rises out of the building,” rescue worker Juan Diego Alvarez tells the Guardian. “The ash is just too hot for us to work.” Nearby lie several pairs of abandoned burnt boots, melted by the boiling ash. -The Guardian
It is a stratovolcano, like Mount St. Helens, with viscous lava that allows gas pressures to build and leads to more explosive eruptions.
The intense activity began on Sunday morning, with a strong explosion shortly before noon. The volcano then continued to spew ash, rocks and gas into the air. A second powerful eruption followed at 6:45 p.m. and the activity finally subsided after 16½ hours, Guatemala’s seismology and volcanology institute said. -NYT