Mexico’s Popocatepetl Volcano erupted at around 9:40 PM last March but still continues to emit smoke. The initial explosion sent a huge column of volcanic ash that measured up to 1.2 kilometers. The explosion of ash covered some houses nearby in carbon. The Civil Protection of Mexico (CPM) reported the eruption and warned residents to vacate and stay away from the 12-kilometer radius around the volcano. The residents were given a phase yellow warning. This signified that they ought to watch out for pyroclastic flows. They were also told to wear protective masks at all times to avoid inhaling the ash that has been lifted up in the air due to the explosion.
The National Center for Disaster Prevention of Mexico (Cenapred) recorded this and has stated that there have been several explosions of gas and ash. Regardless, residents remained quite calm and many stayed by the area. Still, authorities continue to send warnings to locals and travelers about the dangers presented by the volcano, telling them to keep a distance of seven miles from the volcano.
Although the explosion sent voluminous amounts of lahar, there were much larger explosions in the past. Night images of the volcano were trending throughout social media with views of the red-hot crater of the volcano glowing in the dark.
The name Popocatepetl is derived from the Aztec word for smoking volcano. It towers to 5,426 meters and is 70 kilometers southeast of Mexico City, making it the 2nd highest volcano in the North American continent. Eruptions have been recorded since the time of the Aztecs and are known to be accompanied by pyroclastic flows and great volumes of lahar. Explosions are known to occur every 500 to 1000 years, one of which plunged Mexico City into darkness.