Popocatapetl (Mexico)



Popocatapetl (pronounced poh-poh-kah-teh-peh-til) is a volcanic mountain less than 50 miles from Mexico City in Mexico, and lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire. It is the second highest volcano in Mexico, standing almost 18,000 feet high and, like Mount St Helens in the USA, it is a conical stratovolcano.

On 19th December 2000 Popocatapetl erupted causing fears that the snow and ice around the summit would melt, mix with volcanic ash and debris and form huge mud flows called lahars. As a precaution the local authorities evacuated 30,000 people from villages considered to be at risk.

Although 30,000 people seems a large number to evacuate, if the volcano erupted violently and threatened Mexico City, 18 million people would be in danger!


Popo's eruption in 2000 was its most intense activity since historical records began with the Spanish conquest nearly 500 years ago. Monitoring started in 1994 after an eruption ended 70-odd years of inactivity and it continues to today. The last catastrophic eruption happened 1,200 years ago.

Photograph of Popocatapetl

You can view the webcam showing Popocatapetl by clicking here

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