One of the coolest things I've seen in my life. Woke up to the explosions - Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala.
Brad Guay
One of the coolest things I've seen in my life. Woke up to the explosions - Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala.
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(CNN) —  

Guatemala’s Volcán de Fuego rumbled to life earlier this month – and social media has been “erupting” with close-up photos and videos of the active volcano.

The volcano spewed ash and lava and made the ground shake for days before it finally erupted on July 11, the sixth time it’s done so in 2017.

’Exploding for hours on end’

Brad Guay, 22, was visiting Guatemala from Hoboken, New Jersey, on July 9, when he woke up to “the ground under my tent shaking and a series of low rumbles, punctuated by occasional louder explosions.”

Guay was camping on another volcano called Acatenango, which is about a mile and a half away, when the Volcán de Fuego began erupting. He captured a photo of the eruption, showing the volcano piercing the cloudy sky with lava.

“The lava was shooting up to 300 meters (about 980 feet) into the air, and was spilling down the side of the volcano,” Guay said. “The volcano would also throw hot boulders that were probably about the size of a car through the air, which was pretty incredible to see.”

It was an amazing sight, Guay said. “I assumed it might show a little bit of lava for a few minutes if we we’re lucky and that would be that. (I) totally didn’t expect it to be exploding for hours on end.”

Fernando de Dios, a 24-year-old from Guatemala, said he posted a video of the volcano after he and a group of friends hiked it on Sunday.

Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres, the government agency tasked with warning residents and visitors to potential environmental disasters, discourages people from getting to close to an active volcano due to falling debris and the instability of the activity.

They were about 650 meters (about 2,130 feet) from the active cone, de Dios said, when he captured a video of black ash billowing toward the sky.

The explosion, de Dios said, was “very cold with strong winds,” but was an “awesome” experience.

“You could not smell the ash, but you can see the eruptions with a unique view,” de Dios told CNN. “You can hear all the rocks falling and feel every explosion in your chest because of the vibration in the air.

“One of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” de Dios said of witnessing the volcanic activity.

According to the Global Volcanism Program at the Smithsonian Institution, activity for the Volcán de Fuego can be traced to 1524, when it erupted for at least a month. The volcano was most recently active on June 18, when explosions produced ash plumes that rose as high as 950 meters (about 3,116 feet) above the crater.

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