Popocatepetl erupted in a furious fashion on Saturday, December 15, just one week after its previous explosion. The massive volcano flung lava and debris more than two kilometres into the air, sparking warnings from officials in Mexico. A video of the dramatic eruption shows the volcano suddenly bursting into life with a bright explosion before steam and ash rise into the sky.
Just 12 hours after the first, El Popo, as it is known locally among Mexicans, erupted again.
Minister of Civil Protection of the State of Mexico, Luis Felipe Puente, tweeted: “Explosion of Popocatépetl at 06:39 hours, with a height of 2,500 meters in a northwest direction with moderate ash content, the volcanic warning light continues in yellow phase 2.”
In a statement, Mexico’s National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED), urged people “not to approach the volcano and especially the crater, the danger of falling ballistic fragments and in case of heavy rain away from Barrancas funds by the danger of landslides and mudflows.”
While it is unclear why it suddenly erupted, the common hypothesis is that gas-rich magma suddenly degassed, causing it to suddenly bubble to the surface and explode, much like a Champagne bottle.
If that does prove to be true, then the volcano could continue to be active for weeks to come.
At 5,426 metres tall, Popo, which is some 70 kilometres away from the capital Mexico City, is the second largest volcano in North America, but experts say that it does not pose a huge threat to locals due to its usually dormant nature.
Last year, Popo erupted for the first time since 2000 when ash was propelled a staggering three kilometres into the sky.
Since then, there have been several eruptions.