One of world's most dangerous volcanoes threatens to blow [VIDEO]
Thousands of people living near the Popocatepetl volcano in the states of Puebla and Morelos have been put on evacuation alert after the volcano began spewing mile-high plumes of toxic gas and ash into the air on Monday.
Reports say that residents in San Nicolas de Los Ranchos and other communities within 10 miles of the volcano were under a yellow alert Tuesday to evacuate at short notice if the volcanic activity increases.
Popocatepetl, located in the states of Puebla and Morelos, in the eastern section of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, is one of Mexico’s most active volcanoes.
At 5,426 meters (17,802 ft.), Popocatepetl is the second highest peak in the country, second only to the dormant Citlaltépetl (Pico de Orizaba) — about 5,636 meters (18,491 ft.) high — located in the border between the Mexican states of Veracruz and Puebla, also in the eastern part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt.
It is feared that a major eruption of Popocatepetl could put residents of Mexico City — the world’s fourth largest city and capital of Mexico — at risk.
Popocatepetl is located about 43 miles (70 km) southeast of Mexico City, with a population of 20 million, while the city of Puebla, the largest city of the state of Puebla, with a population of a few million, is about 38 miles (61 kilometers) away.
It is estimated that a major eruption of the 5,426 meter-high (17,802 ft.) volcano places about 9 million people at risk.
Popocatepetl’s last major eruption occurred in 2000, followed by a minor eruption in 2005.
The volcano has had more than 15 major eruptions since 1519, following the arrival of the Spanish in the region. A major eruption also occurred in 1947. In December, 1994, a major eruption of the volcano spewed large quantities of toxic gas that was carried up to 25 km by prevailing winds. The incident forced evacuation of several settlements.