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Popocatepetl volcano in central Mexico showed recent activity that has people in the area on high alert. The volcano lies around 50 miles to the southeast of Mexico City and is clearly visible to the more than 19 million residents of the capital on a clear day. The lava dome on Popocatepetl, which means "Smoking Mountain" in the native Nahuatl language, started to expand on Friday and ash lightly dusted the cars and streets in some towns located close to the volcano. This, in combination with a steam-and-ash plume and elevated seismicity prompted local schools to cancel classes, emergency teams to prepare for evacuation, and CENAPRED, Mexico's National Center for Prevention of Disasters, to raise the alert status to Yellow Phase 3.
Nevado del Ruiz, a broad, glacier-covered stratovolcano in Colombia, South America, most known for its eruption in 1985 that killed ~25,000 people, has seen recent volcanic activity over the past few weeks. INGEOMINAS, the Colombian goelogical survey is heavily monitoring the volcano in the case of a future eruption. Since March 27th, there have been tremors associated with fluid motion (likely magma), seismic activity and rock fracturing, as well as earthquakes and high SO2 emissions. Above is an image of a small steam plume from the volcano as seen on March 27, 2012. Image from INGEOMINAS Colombia.