Photo: Mexico's Popocatepetl Volcan
Mexico’s National Disaster Center (Cenapred) has put Mexico City and its surrounding areas on alert after the Popocatepetl Volcano’s seismic activity notably increased. This past weekend the 17,866 ft volcano erupted a mile half tall plume of ash and steam.
Mexican authorities have issued a seven-mile exclusion border around the cone of the volcano to assure residents safety. Immediate concern is for the approximately 28,000 residents in nearby communities in the states of Mexico and Puebla. Safety shelters have been established in these states in case the volcano has a bigger eruption.
The Mexican government is preparing evacuation routes and handing out face masks in anticipation of ash flowing from the crater as eruptions intensify. On Sunday Cenapred elevated its warning level to Level 5 out of a 7 level warning system.
The volcano is known in Mexico by its ancient Aztec name: Volcan Popcatépetl which means the Smoking Mountain. The feared and revered volcano is located 43 miles southeast of Mexico City. It is the second highest volcano in North America and the second highest peak in Mexico.
Last year around the same time Popcatepetl was very active with 2.5 mile high eruptions. Prior to that the last eruptive activity was in 2000, when thousands of people were displaced from their homes. It was some 1,000 years ago that Popocatepetl lava overflowed the crater and wiped out an entire indigenous village in Puebla.