From EarthSky: “Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano had a spectacular eruption this week”


From EarthSky

January 9, 2020
Deborah Byrd

El Popo erupts! Well, it erupts often, but Thursday morning’s eruption – which happened at sunrise – was a beauty. El Popo is the nickname for Mexico’s most active volcano, Popocatépetl, near Mexico City. The eruption Thursday caused officials to issue a yellow alert.

The active volcano Popocatépetl – just 43 miles (70 km) southeast of Mexico City, and visible from there when atmospheric conditions permit – erupted Thursday morning, January 9, 2020, spewing ash high into the air and oozing lava. Popocatépetl is affectionately called El Popo by Mexicans. It’s one of Mexico’s most active volcanoes. Officials say no one was hurt as a result of Thursday’s eruption. However, because it’s so near Mexico City, many cameras were trained on it. The sunrise light on the erupting volcano was a sight to see.

Spectacular eruption from one of Mexico’s most active volcanoes, Popocatepetl, Thursday morning. Image via @webcamsdemexico on Twitter.

Officials said the eruption sent up a column of smoke about 2 miles (3 km) into the air, with a moderate ash content.

NOAA’s GOES 16 satellite caught the eruption from space.


Popocatépetl has low- or medium-level eruptions often, and at times erupts more or less continuously. It has had more than 15 major eruptions since the arrival of the Spanish in 1519, according to Wikipedia.

This morning’s eruption was a beauty, though! In part because of its location so near Mexico City, many cameras are trained on the volcano, and thus the January 9, 2020, eruption has been well documented so far, at this writing mostly on Twitter and YouTube.

A gorgeous shot of Popocatépetl on January 9, 2020, as the sun rose on its eruption. Image via @nuriapiera on Twitter.

By the way, after Thursday’s eruption, official issued a “yellow phase 2.” The translation for this “AmarilloFase2” – explained in the tweet below – is as follows:

“Preventive actions for the alert level #AmarilloFase2: Stay tuned for official information. Prepare important documents. Perform drills and know the location of temporary shelters. Develop a family plan for Civil Protection.”

See the full article here .

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Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. “Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers,” she says.