Popocatépetl Volcano Near Mexico City Erupts, Ash Cloud Captured In Amazing Video

By iScienceTimes Staff on June 19, 2013 12:37 PM EDT

volcano
The Popocatépetl volcano near Mexico City erupted with a plume of ash three miles high on Monday. Popocatépetl is one of Mexico's most active volcanoes. (Photo: YouTube screenshot)

The Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico erupted Monday, spewing ash and rock three miles into the air. The active Popocatépetl volcano is only 34 miles from Mexico City, meaning that nearly five million people are with the volcano's radius, with about 650,000 people considered to be at high risk from volcanic eruption.

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The National Center for Prevention of Disasters (Cenapred) in Mexico recorded 78 instances of activity in Popocatépetl on Monday, varying in intensity. The volcano erupted at 1:00 PM local time on Monday, and was captured in a stunning Cenapred webcam video (below).

The Popocatépetl volcano has recently seen domes of lava growing in its summit crater. As Wired explains, these lava domes "occasionally collapse or are destroyed by explosions that can lessen the pressure on the magma beneath to create an even larger explosion." In everyday terms, the result is like removing the cap on a shaken-up bottle of soda.

The eruption of the Popocatépetl volcano, while scary-looking, wasn't really dangerous, and settled down after a few minutes. The ash cloud blew southwest, away from Mexico City. Small fires resulted from volcanic material floating into nearby areas, but were contained.

Popocatépetl is an Aztec word meaning "smoking mountain." Popocatépetl is one of Mexico's most active volcanoes. The last major eruption of the volcano occurred in 1947. Since 1994, Popocatépetl has erupted several times, and has spewed ash almost every day since 1994. The volcano has been quiet lately, leading Mexican authorities to reduce its volcano alert earlier this month to Yellow Phase 2, on a scale that goes up to seven.

At the beginning of this month, a UFO allegedly flew over the Popocatépetl. According to The Inquisitr, "the best explanation for this UFO sighting is that it was an aircraft heading off into the horizon, making it appear as if it was 'descending' due to the curvature of the earth."

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