In Mexico, one of the largest volcanoes in the world, Popocatépetl, has become active again.
In Mexico, one of the largest volcanoes in the world, Popocatépetl, has become active again. For a week, the vent spews out columns of lava, ash, and gas. The awakened volcano is located about 70 km from Mexico City. Due to ash at the airports in the capital and surrounding cities, more than 200 flights were delayed or cancelled. Mexican authorities have raised the threat level to the pre-evacuation level: more than 25 million people live in a potentially dangerous area.
The volcano erupts clouds of ash.
Due to the activity of Popocatépetl, which means “smoking mountain”, classes have been canceled in dozens of nearby schools, and nearly 3 million people are under threat of evacuation. The main problem at the moment is ash, which continuously covers the surrounding areas in a dense layer. Because of this, the authorities recommended that Mexicans be less likely to be outside and wear protective masks. To help local residents, the Mexican Ministry of Defense mobilized more than 7,000 troops.
Ash covers nearby settlements.
Scientists and Mexican authorities who monitor the situation 24 hours a day believe a major volcanic eruption is unlikely. According to the volcanologist at the Institute of Geophysics Robin Campion, “the small activity reduces the pressure of the magma.” Volcanologist Hugo Delgado Granados, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, explained that Popocatépetl wakes up approximately every 70 years to release its accumulated energy, but this does not have serious consequences. The experts also recalled that the last major volcanic eruptions occurred tens of thousands of years ago.
The flights are cancelled.
As for the ash, which continues to be a key problem, the scientists point out that it is especially dangerous for aircraft, since it can interfere with navigation systems, cover runways and clog aircraft mechanisms. The ash can also irritate the respiratory tract, eyes and skin of humans. Experts fear that when the wind rose changes, it will cover even more densely populated areas, including the capital. Volcanologist Robin Campion said the emissions could continue for several months.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador tried to reassure the public on Wednesday by urging people “not to worry” and saying that “the volcano seems to be calming down, although it continues to emit ash.”
The Awakened Popocatépetl, whose age is estimated to be millions of years, has been worrying Mexicans since 1994. It was then, as scientists believe, that the next cycle of its activity began. Episodes like the current one took place in 1994, 2000, as well as in 2012, 2019 and 2020. The most dramatic was the peak of 2000: then the authorities had to evacuate 42,000 residents.