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A man looking at Fuego's volcanic eruption. Photo: Orlando Estrada/AFP via Getty Images

A volcanic eruption from Guatemala's Fuego volcano has killed at least 62 after a late-Sunday eruption sent ash across the region, AP reports.

Threat level: The eruption covered villages in ash and molten rock after an explosion on Sunday afternoon. Lava began flowing rapidly down the mountain and across homes around 4 p.m.

Fuego is Guatemala's most active volcano, per Discover Magazine's volcano expert Eric Klemetti, and has 300 residents living in the surrounding area. Most of the people have been evacuated, but rescuers are struggling to reach residents in rural areas separated by the debris from the eruption.

Unlike Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, which mostly produces slow-moving lava flows, Fuego is a different type of volcano, known as a stratovolcano. It has already generated multiple pyroclastic and ash flows.

People flee El Rodeo village, 35 km south of Guatemala City, after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano on June 3, 2018. PEREZ/AFP/Getty Images

Referring to the social media videos of the eruption, Klemetti said, "If you ever find yourself in a situation like this, DO NOT stick around to film it. Run/drive/ride away as fast as possible."

  • A pyroclastic flow is a fast-moving mixture of ash, volcanic rock, hot gases and air moving down the sides of the volcano. They can reach over 500 degrees Celsius and wipe out anything in their path, from entire forests to buildings. It was a pyroclastic flow that did so much damage in 1980, when Mt. St. Helens erupted in Washington State.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, pyroclastic flows are impossible to outrun, and contain a variety of deadly hazards." With rock fragments ranging in size from ash to boulders that travel across the ground at speeds typically greater than 80 km per hour (50 mph), pyroclastic flows knock down, shatter, bury or carry away nearly all objects and structures in their path," the USGS says on a website detailing the phenomena.

According to the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Project, Fuego has been erupting continuously since 2002, though not always so explosively and destructively.

Go deeper

Texas AG sues Biden administration over deportation freeze

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to members of the media in 2016. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and he's asking for a temporary restraining order.

Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
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Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck

President Biden has said that getting Americans vaccinated for COVID-19 is his administration’s top priority given an initial rollout plagued by organizational, logistical and technical glitches.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the bottlenecks and how to unclog them with Carbon Health chief executive Eren Bali, whose company recently began helping to manage vaccinations in Los Angeles.

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