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Mexico raises alert for volcano

2012-04-17 14:26

Mexico City - Mexican authorities raised the alert level for the Popocatepetl volcano near to Mexico City on Monday after it started spewing red-hot fragments of rock.

The lava dome of Popocatepetl, some 80 km to the southeast of the capital, started to expand on Friday, Mexico's National Centre for Disaster Prevention said.

This change in activity in the 5 450m volcano could provoke big explosions capable of sending incandescent fragments out over considerable distances, as well as ash showers, the centre said in a statement.

Raising alert

The center raised the alert level to yellow phase three from yellow phase two, indicating possible magma expulsion and explosions of increasing intensity. It is the third-highest warning on the centre's seven-step scale.

Emergency services should ready evacuation teams and shelters, limit access to the area around the volcano and alert air-traffic control systems, the centre said in its statement.

Experts have noted increased activity in Popocateptl in 2012. It has spewed smoke and ash sporadically over the last few years and a major eruption in 2000 forced the evacuation of nearly 50 000 residents in three states surrounding the peak.