Wednesday, February 27th 2013, 7:11 AM EST
LIMA (Reuters) - Hundreds of small earthquakes have shaken the earth around the Sabancaya volcano in southern Peru over just a few days and the rumbling, along with plumes of smoke spewing up to 320 feet high, have put officials on alert to evacuate the area.
Peru's geological agency Ingemmet recorded some 536 quakes, about 20 an hour, on February 22 and 23 and periodic movement is ongoing.
Thousands of people live in the valleys surrounding the volcano. Some have already started to leave the region because the unusual seismic activity has damaged their homes. About 80 homes were damaged by one temblor on February 22, Peru's national defense office said....
..Ingemmet said the volcano has been releasing huge smoke trails intermittently since January 15 and current seismic activity is similar to that which accompanied an eruption in 1986.
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