Sat, April 21, 2012
World > Americas

Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano spews ash, rocks

2012-04-21 01:56:01 GMT2012-04-21 09:56:01(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MEXICO CITY, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Mexico's snow-capped Popocatepetl volcano on Friday spewed towers of ash into the sky and sent glowing rocks and lava over the crater, the National Disaster Prevention Center (Cenapred) said.

The recently active volcano started up again at 5:05 local time (1005 GMT) with 12 "exhalations of moderate intensity," reported Cenapred, adding it also ejected incandescent rocks and earth.

The columns of ash and steam sprinkled ashes over nearby communities to the southeast.

The Authorities have been monitoring the volcano around the clock, in case a larger eruption requires evacuating towns and villages along the slopes and skirts of Mexico's second-highest peak, which stands 5,450 meters above sea level.

Airport officials have also restricted flight paths over the volcano's southeastern flank.

Meanwhile, Cenapred Director Roberto Quass again asked residents to remain calm though there have been no reports of panic, and recommended that people in the nearby communities use surgical-style masks to avoid breathing ash and debris particles.

The emergency system's alert level remains at Yellow Level Three, with Cenapred saying that the volcano could show moderate to intense activity over the next few hours.

The state government of Puebla, where the volcano sits, has prepared an evacuation plan in case the alert level is raised to Red Level One. Should that happen, the state is expected to call for the voluntary evacuation of some 28,000 people living on the outskirts of the volcano.

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