American Elephants

Mt. Popocatepetl Erupted Monday Night about 9:30 by The Elephant's Child


Mt. Popocatépetl is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and only 43 miles away from Mexico City. Approximately 25 million people live within a 60 mile radius of the crater. So when the mountain does something, everyone sits up and takes notice. On Monday night at 9:38 PM a massive explosion sent a column of volcanic ash almost a mile into the sky. The explosion was loud enough to shake doors and windows in the city of Puebla.

The mountain has been increasingly active in recent months, and authorities are currently preparing for the worse case scenarios. They have drafted a special evacuation plan for locals in case there is a more violent eruption.

Scientists say that the volcano is capable of producing a catastrophic eruption. Popocatépetl is considered the most dangerous volcano in North America in terms of explosive activity and threat to populations. The current moderate scale can switch fairly quickly to a large, catastrophic Plinian eruption, the largest and most violent of all volcanic eruptions.

Wikipedia defines a Plinian eruption (or Vesuvian eruption) as similar to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, which destroyed the ancient Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii. Such eruptions are marked by columns of volcanic debris and hot gases ejected high into the stratosphere, the second layer of Earth’s atmosphere. Key characteristics are the ejection of large amounts of pumice and powerful continuous gas-driven eruptions. Short eruptions can end in less than a day, longer events can take several days or even months. The amount of magma erupted can be so large that it depletes the magma chamber below and causes the top of the volcano to collapse resulting in a caldera. A disaster that could potentially kill millions.

Popocatépetl had a dramatic effect on the ancient Aztecs. Giant mud flows covered entire Aztec cities and some were so large they buried entire pyramids in super-heated mud. We haven’t seen anything like that in modern times, the mountain had been dormant for a very long time before becoming active again in the 1990s.

Remember that our West Coast from Alaska and the Aleutians all the way down through Chilé is part of the “Ring of Fire,” with Mt. St. Helens which did erupt in 1980, Many of our other mountains are also dormant volcanoes – Mt. Rainier, Oregon’s Mt. Hood, to mention the more famous ones.

We need to keep a close eye on this one. (ht: Zero Hedge)

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