Geology And Geophysics
Mexico`s Popocatepetl volcano shows increased activity in May 2013

Will Popocatepetl Continue to Erupt or Fall Back into Slumber



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Mexico`s Popocatepetl volcano shows increased activity in May 2013
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"Will Popocatepetl Continue to Erupt or Fall Back into Slumber"
Caption: Mexico`s Popocatepetl volcano shows increased activity in May 2013
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Image by: National Center for Disaster Prevention/Mexico
© All Rights Reserved http://www.cenapred.gob.mx/popo/2013/may/p0512137.jpg

Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano continues to show increased signs of awakening this month. On May 8, 2013 the volcano began to spew ash during a series of ongoing small eruptions after becoming more active over the past month.

After approximately eight hours of small eruptions and temblors last week, several cities in the region were covered with ash (YouTube video). At that time the federal government had determined there was no immediate danger. Officials noted this was normal activity for the very active volcano, however did say they were watching Popocatepetl carefully.

A few days later, on May 12, 2013, Mexico's National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) raised the region's alert level from yellow phase two to yellow phase three due to Popocatépetl's increased activity.

"In the past two weeks the activity of Popocatépetl volcano has increased," CENAPRED said in its May 12 statement. "Today an increase in the general levels of activity was noticed, in particular some explosions, volcano tectonic seisms, tremor episodes and exhalation trains, so based on the recommendation of the Scientific Assessing Committee, the Interior Ministry decided to increase the Volcanic Alert Level to Yellow, Phase 3."

In the first of three statements on May 12, CENAPRED noted at least 60 exhalations of "low to moderate intensity", followed by steam and gas. Due to visibility problems, was unclear to authorities if additional ash was also expelled. In the evening, what was described as "moderate to intense incandescence" was observed coming from Popocatépetl.

In addition to raising the alert level, the agency said that access to the area surrounding the volcano was restricted and certain roads in the vicinity were also closed.

Two subsequent updates from CENAPRED, also on May 12, indicated activity coming from Popocatépetl continued to increase. The agency said the volcano registered 20 additional exhalations of low to moderate intensity.

A yellow phase three is the third-highest warning on the agency's seven-step scale. In April 2012, the agency had also raised to a yellow phase three when Popocatépetl got very active. At that time the volcano did not have a full eruption and eventually did settle down.

Located in central Mexico, Popocatépetl volcano is generally not very dormant. Its name comes from the Aztec language and means "smoking mountain."

Affectionately referred to as "El Popo" by locals, the volcano stands approximately 17,900 feet  (5,455 meters) and is located about 50 miles southeast to Mexico City.

This volcano is monitored 24 hours a day. If a full eruption were to occur, this could have serious consequences. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, tens of millions of people live within view of Popocatépetl and hundreds of thousands would be put in danger.

At this time everyone has their eyes on "El Popo" to see whether it will come to a full eruption or slowly go back into slumber.

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ARTICLE SOURCES AND CITATIONS
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://digitaljournal.com/article/347921
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2pMkTzUpj18
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.cenapred.gob.mx/cgi-bin/popo/reportes/ultrepi2.cgi
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.cenapred.gob.mx/cgi-bin/popo/reportes/ultrepi2.cgi
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/Mexico/Popocatepetl/description_popo.html