(QHA) - El Salvador's Chaparrastique volcano erupted Sunday, sending a dark cloud of ash miles into the sky, forcing thousands to evacuate from their homes, CNN reports. "We are not certain there will be new eruptions, but we can't rule out that possibility either," President Mauricio Funes said in a televised address urging residents near the volcano in the department of San Miguel to leave their homes and head to shelters. According to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the eruption began at 10:30 a.m. and produced a column of gas and ash approximately 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) high. Authorities warned residents not to approach the area near the volcano, which is located in eastern El Salvador. There are more than 20 volcanoes in the small Central American nation. At 2,129 metres above sea level, Chaparrastique is the third highest volcano in the country. It spewed lava in 1976 and caused a strong tremor in the area in 2010.

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