Scientists are keeping close tabs on Costa Rica's Turrialba volcano, which on Tuesday afternoon sent a large cloud of smoke and ask skyward.
It was the first significant activity within the volcano since it last erupted in 1866, causing ash to fall as far away as neighboring Nicaragua.
Families living at the foot of the volcano were evacuated and more evacuations in the town of Turrialba are expected today.
Tourists since April, when the volcano began to emit strong sulfuric gasses, had been limited to 20 minutes of exposure at the main viewing point.
Residents in the Central American nation, while this has no connection, might be quick to note that almost exactly a year ago a devastating earthquake in Poas Volcano National Park killed more than a dozen people and left tourists in the region trapped for days because of damaged roadways.
The 11,000-foot Turrialba volcano is east of the capital city of San Jose, in the verdant central highlands.
According to the English-language Tico Times, emergency teams with the Red Cross have for the past few months been planning and training with locals to prepare for a large-scale evacuation, just in case.
-- Pete Thomas
Aerial photo of the Turrialba volcano courtesy of the Municipalidad de Turrialba