Wednesday 8 May 2013

Eruption on Mount Popocatépetl.

The central Mexican volcano Popocatépetl began erupting explosively at about 7.30 pm local time on Tuesday 7 May 2013 (12.30 am on Wednesday May GMT), throwing lumps of incandescent rock up to 700 m from the crater and throwing a column of ash 7.6 km into the air according to the Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, which drifted east over the state of Puebla, and leading to ashfalls in several cities.

Incandescent material being thrown from the crater of Popocatépetl on 7 May 2013. Reporte Yucatán

Popocatépetl is a very active volcano, typically erupting several times in a year, though this event is on the large side. Major eruptions on Popocatépetl are a cause for concern as the volcano is in a densely populated area, with 30 million people living within the potential hazard zone. The last major eruption, a Plinian (or Vesuvian) event in about 800 AD, triggered a series of pyroclastic flows and lahars that scoured the basins around the volcano.

The volcanoes of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (including Popocatépetl) are fueled by the subduction of the Cocos Plate beneath the North American Plate along the Middle American Trench tp the south of Mexico. As the subducting plate sinks into the Earth it is melted by the heat and pressure, and volatile minerals liquify and rise through the overlying North American Plate as magma, fueling Mexico's volcanoes.

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