Mexico's active Popocatepetl volcano erupted yesterday, spewing ash and incandescent rock almost three miles high. And as you'll see in this dramatic video, the explosion produced a massive shockwave — sending huge chunks of burning debris to the surrounding areas.
The volcano is now on alert level Yellow, Phase 2, which restricts access to within 12 km of the crater. Access on local roads is also limited. Authorities warn that the winds could blow the ash to nearby Mexico City, which is 43 miles away.
According to authorities in the state of Puebla, where the second-tallest volcano in Mexico is located, the incandescent fragments released in the blast fell as far as 2 kilometers from the crater. Director of Puebla’s Civil Protection department Jesus Morales said that burning rocks sparked small fires around the volcano.
“There were clouds at the time of the eruption so it was possible to observe the large shock wave accompanied by a plume of ash and incandescent material,” Morales said.
Mexico's National Center for Prevention of Disasters (Cenapred) said the volcano had returned to its previous activity level, and that the volcanic alert level would remain at ‘yellow phase two.’ In addition, volcanic ash that was blown up to 4 kilometers into the air could be shifted by wind currents and then fall on Puebla, or even as far away as Mexico City, Cenapred warned.