The Popocatepetl volcano has erupted, releasing an impressive amount of ash into the air while molten lava raced down the crater. This active stratovolcano is located in Central Mexico and represents half of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt.
Recent reports note that the eruption is quite intense as the volcanic ash plume managed to climb up to 20,000 feet (or 6100 meters). Several explosions have been traced during the weekend, anticipating the occurrence of the powerful event.
Popocatepetl is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and an important topic for many studies. The name comes from the Aztec word for smoking tower, and the volcano has remained quite busy since the earliest records exist.
The recent eruption of the Popocatepetl volcano
Also known under the nickname of El Popo, the volcano is a part of the explosive Ring of Fire, a notorious region of the pacific where earthquakes or volcanic eruptions take place quite often. It is estimated that more than 90% of the earthquakes which take place in the world take place in the Ring of Fire.
Research has shown that many of the faults found in the Ring of Fire are under the sea level, and massive rupture has the potential to lead to large-scale tsunamis, similar to the ones which affected Indonesia and Japan in 2011. More than 400 volcanoes are also found in the Ring of Fire, and many erupt regularly, offering spectacular displays.
More than 200,000 years ago, an ancestral volcano known under the name of Nexpayantla collapsed in the aftermath of a savage eruption, leading to the formation of a new volcano. The new volcano collapsed due to the same phenomenon almost 50,000 years ago, paving the way for the rise of the Popocatepetl volcano.
Since the arrival of the Spanish in 1519, more than 15 major eruptions of the Popocatepetl volcano have been recorded, without taking the latest one into account. Scientists have stated that more eruptions will take place in the future.