Mexico lowers alert level for Popocatepetl volcano

Jose Marcos de Olarte walks his mule
Jose Marcos de Olarte walks his mule to plant corn on his land near the Popocatepetl volcano in Santiago Xalitzintla, Mexico.
(Marco Ugarte / Associated Press)
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Mexico lowered the alert level on the Popocatepetl volcano Tuesday after more than two weeks of its eruptions of gas and ash had drawn the attention of those living in its shadow and people around the world.

The 17,797-foot mountain just 45 miles southeast of Mexico City, known affectionately as “El Popo,” had spread ash over towns downwind for days and spurred authorities to dust off their evacuation plans.

Some 25 million people live within 60 miles of its crater. But ultimately no evacuations were ordered, and experts said the emissions from the increased activity actually made a catastrophic eruption less likely.


Amid a series of booming eruptions, Mexican authorities have told millions who live near the Popocatépetl volcano to prepare for possible evacuation.

May 25, 2023

National Civil Defense Coordinator Laura Velázquez lowered the alert level back to yellow phase two Tuesday on the recommendation of a scientific advisory panel, according to a statement from the government. It had been at yellow phase three, just a notch below a red alert on the stop-light-style scale.

Scientists said they had observed a slight decrease in activity, including less ash falling and fewer incandescent rocks shooting into the air. The frequency and intensity of its exhalations have decreased.

Velázquez had raised the alert level to yellow phase three on May 21.