LIMA – Ash from the eruption of the Sabancaya volcano in southern Peru has fallen as far away as towns located in the scenic Colca Valley, one of the key tourist areas in the Arequipa region, the Ingemmet volcanological observatory reported Thursday.
In a press release, Ingemmet said that ash had fallen on 11 towns in the valley, which is in Caylloma province.
The observatory said that after the latest alert issued by the Permanent Scientific Monitoring Committee for Sabancaya, ash started falling in the valley about 8 am, with a dispersion radius of between 30-35 kilometers (19-22 miles).
Ingemmet specialists were to resume their fieldwork at Sabancaya on Thursday, taking the first eruption samples and data for analysis.
The ash emissions, which have risen to a height of 2,000 meters (about 6,600 feet) above the volcano, were said to have affected the towns and villages of Parjo, Cajamarcana, Sallalli, Pampasepina, Hornillo, Patamapa, Yanque, Coporaque, Ichupampa, Achoma and Chivay, the latter of which is the capital of Caylloma.
Experts recommended that authorities implement measures to help protect the local population such as distributing masks to residents to prevent respiratory problems.
Peru, for the first time in recorded history, has two volcanoes erupting simultaneously, with activity at Sabancaya and Ubinas, both in the southern part of the country, the Permanent Scientific Monitoring Committee for Ubinas reported on Wednesday.
Scientists said that the two ongoing eruptions are merely a coincidence since the volcanoes are separated by some 100 km (62 mi.) and do not share any underground connection or magma chambers.
Sabancaya began erupting last Sunday after remaining dormant for 18 years, while Ubinas has been in an eruptive phase since 2013, with small periodic explosions continuing in its interior and producing gas and ash emissions.
Sabancaya’s crater is located 5,976 m above sea level, while the crater of Ubinas is 5,672 m above sea level.