SAN SALVADOR, Dec. 29 -- El Salvador's Chaparrastique Volcano erupted early Sunday, spewing a tall column of ash and smoke into the sky.
The 2,130-meter-high volcano, located in the Central American country's department of San Miguel, is one of the eight active volcanoes in the country.
The eruption generated a large kilometer-high mushroom cloud that can be seen from as far as capital San Salvador, more than 138 kilometers away.
The department of vulcanology at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) reported some local seismic activity accompanied the eruption.
The Civil Protection Agency, meanwhile, began the evacuation of residents living within a 3-kilometer radius of the site, due to falling volcanic ash.
Jorge Melendez, director of the agency, said a yellow alert had been issued for the area, as winds were blowing the ash towards the coast.
Chaparrastique, which last erupted in 1976, has a crater that measures approximately two kilometers in diameter, and that perennially exudes a plume of smoke and sulphuric gas.
Rescue units are stationed and on alert in case volcanic activity requires more evacuations, authorities said.