When was the last time the Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico erupted?
The Popocatepetl volcano in Mexico began spewing enough clouds of ash, vapor, and smoke this week to cause the cancellation of classes.
The Popocatepetl volcano in central Mexico has recently been exhibiting heightened activity, spewing clouds of ash, vapor, and smoke, causing the closure of schools and public parks. The National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) has raised the alert level for the area around the volcano to Phase 3, which is the stage before an order to evacuate.
According to CENAPRED, this alert level means that the volcano could produce mild to moderate explosions, magma, and ashfall. At the moment, it has not been determined how long the period of increased activity would last.
The most popular Mexican volcano
Popocatepetl, which sits at the border of the states of Mexico and Puebla, is the second-highest volcano in the country and in North America. It’s one of the most active in Mexico, and forms part of the Volcanic Axis.
The volcano has had more than 15 major eruptions since the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1519. In more recent history, it lay dormant for around 70 years before becoming active again in the 1990s, when it began to produce ash emissions.
READ ALSO: The ten largest active volcanos in the world
When was the last time the Popocatépetl volcano erupted?
The last time Popocatepetl recorded an eruption that was considered ‘violent’ was in December 2000, when approximately 50,000 people had to be evacuated from the region. This was considered its most violent explosion in more than a thousand years. The explosive event produced a large ash plume and ejected hot rocks over two miles into the air. The eruption resulted in significant ashfall in surrounding areas, including Puebla and Mexico City.
The volcano has shown frequent activity since that explosion, and according to NASA, Popocatepetl- which means smoking mountain- has been in a period of eruption since 2000, with volcanic emissions repeatedly puffing out from its summit crater.