Mexican villages rocked by Popocatepetl volcano eruption

April 21, 2012MEXICO A 17,886ft volcano outside Mexico City has exhaled dozens of towering plumes of ash and shot fragments of glowing rock down its slopes, frightening the residents of surrounding villages with hours of low-pitched roaring not heard in a decade. A white cloud of ash, gas, water vapor and superheated rock spewed from the cone of Popocatepetl high above the village of Xalitzintla, whose residents said they were awakened by a window-rattling series of eruptions. Mexico’s National Disaster Prevention Centre said that a string of eruptions had ended in the early morning, then started up again at 5.05am, with at least 12 in two hours. “Up on the mountain, it feels incredible,” said Aaron Sanchez Ocelotl, 45, who was in his turf grass fields when the eruptions happened. “It sounds like the roaring of the sea.” The white cone of Popo, as most call the mountain, is an iconic backdrop to Mexico City’s skyline on clear days, but its 40-mile distance means even a moderately large eruption is unlikely to do more than dump ash on one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas. It is a different matter for the villages on the flanks of the volcano, where the quiet of the corn fields and fruit orchards was pervaded by the volcano’s spooky roaring. “Everyone needs to take this seriously. This buzzing, this roaring isn’t normal,” said Gregorio Fuentes Casquera, the assistant mayor of Xalitzintla, a village of 2,600 people about seven miles from the summit. He said the town had prepared 50 buses and was sending out its six-member police forces to alert people to be ready to evacuate. Dozens of women lined up in Xalitzintla’s main square to get free face masks and bottles of water. Health authorities were giving out 10 masks and 10 bottles of water to each family, and the surgical-style masks, intended to filter out the fine ash released by the volcano, were becoming common among the town’s students, who are required to wear them in school. Few adults wore them. President Felipe Calderon said live on national television that authorities are keeping open roads around the mountain, preparing emergency shelters and making sure residents know the latest information about a potential eruption. –The Press Association
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9 Responses to Mexican villages rocked by Popocatepetl volcano eruption

  1. Steven Cass says:

    I’m not very knowledgable about volcanoes and the earth and such, but I do know my history… What are the chances we see a Plinian eruption like the eruptions of Vesuvius and Santorini that destroyed Pompeii and the Minoin civilization? I don’t mean to sound like I’m “cheering” for this thing to happen- I’m just wondering whether such a catastrophic eruption can happen with this volcano, and what the implications would be for Mexico City? Thanks!


    • In geology, you try to access the future by studying the past. We don’t always know what a volcano will do but we do know what it has done in the past. There have been 15 eruptions of the Popocatépetl volcano since the 16th century and there are supposed to have been at least 3 Plinian eruptions that occurred in its history. As for timing; it may be overdue, as they occur at intervals of several centuries or few thousands of years, while vulcanian and strombolian activity happens in intermittent phases. The last plinian eruption at Popocatépetl is believed to have taken place around 800 CE. This, however, is no forecast for present activity…


  2. Rob says:

    Thank You, once again, for keeping us informed TEP Team 🙂


  3. mandy says:

    My family lives in Puebla on the opposite side of the volcano from Mexico City. They’ve said everything is covered in ash and “everyone is running around like Cinderella.” They’ve been told not to be alarmed about anything, however, I, too, keep thinking about the plinian eruptions as well. You can see it on a map- they’re only 30 miles away!

    Government officials are concerned with finances. They’re not going to shut things down and evacuate before the last minute because they would have to sacrifice too much money.They would rather get out themselves and sacrifice our lives instead. Mexican politicians (like ours) are all over the boards of Monsanto- for goodness sake! it my desire for everyone to realize that fact and stop trusting these people to tell you when you are safe and when you are not simply because they have a fancy title. You are a dollar sign to these men and they’d rather clean up your body than deal with having to feed you, give you water, shelter and protection for years to come after a disaster! [/end rant]

    I believe I remember reading here on TEP that winds usually flow southeast towards Puebla and I can confirm this with my own childhood memories and the accounts of my family from the current eruptions. The state of Puebla is where the battle of Cinco de Mayo was fought and it is also home to the largest pyramid in the new world: Tlachichualtepetl. It’s base is 4 times larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza. I’ve been many times- it’s a beautiful place with a lovely energy about it. The name of the city the pyramid is in is Cholula, from the Nahuatl word for refuge. I try to paint a picture so it’s easy to remember the place, the beauty, and the people because so much is going on, China, Iran, Israel, Syria etc… but there are people in each of these places, there is nature, there is beauty and we can’t forget about those people and these places.

    I can’t say which way Popo may erupt- but whichever way- there are major metropolitan areas on both sides of this volcano. Please pray for Life, Love and Truth to reach these people so that they might escape in time.


  4. I hope there are others means of transportation. It would take a long time to evacuate 2600 people with 50 buses.


  5. Fillade says:

    As volcano/earthquake activity is increasing monthly in our hemisphere, it raises the possiabelity of a N/S contenent event (S) that will generate mass refrugee movement, the only place to go is north.
    We could easily see 100 million at our southern border, then what, California is already broke.


  6. yamkin says:

    Popocatepetl Volcano’s Activity Puts Mexico City On Yellow Alert – 21st April 2012


  7. yamkin says:

    Mexican government has issued a Red Alert for the Popocatepetl volcano, where millions of people live with a 60 mile radius of Popocatepetl.


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