|Mexico on Alert over Popocatepetl Volcano Eruption
Mexico's largest active volcano Popocatepetl continued to spew smoke and ashes on Monday near the capital, the National Disaster Prevention Center (Cenapred) said.
Popocatepetl, located some 60 km southeast of the Mexico City, had a total of four low-intensity exhalations after a powerful explosion around midday on Sunday, Carlos Gutierrez, head of research at Cenapred, said.
The smoke was clearly visible from the capital with some 20 million inhabitants as well as nearby cities in the central provinces of Puebla, Morelos and Mexico.
Cenapred maintained a yellow alert for the area, Gutierrez said
Access to the volcano has been restricted to a radius of 12 km around the crater after Sunday's explosion, which was reported to happen at 12:05 p.m. local time (1805 GMT) and ejected smoke and ash over 7 km high into the air.
The explosion startled nearby residents, but officials said no damage or injuries had been reported so far.
The Popocatepetl volcano, measuring 5,452 meters in height, last had a major eruption in December 2000, when masses of lava flowed for weeks and led to the evacuation of some 30,000 people.
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Scientists monitoring the current activity at Popocatepetl were expecting continued "moderate exhalations and low level sporadic explosions" including possible volcanic fragments from the crater, Gutierrez said.
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