When those Mexico City volcanoes sound off

It's a treat to go to Mexico City and see the volcanoes.  The locals don't pay much attention to them because they don't impact their lives.  I guess we call them quiet volcanoes or something like that.  Nevertheless, they are majestic, especially on a clear day during the rainy season.

I guess that the volcanoes reminded everyone that they are there and ready to shut down airports.  This is the story:

Mexico City's two main airports temporarily shut down operations on Saturday due to ash spewing from Popocatepetl volcano, located 45 miles (72 kilometers) southeast of the country's capital.

The city's Benito Juarez International airport suspended operations at 4:25 a.m. local time. It resumed operations at 10 a.m., after removing volcanic ashes, checking the runways and verifying favorable wind conditions, the airport said on Twitter.

The new Felipe Angeles airport, located north of Mexico City and operated by the military, shut down operations around 6 a.m., and service was suspended for five hours.

Volcanic ashes are especially dangerous for aviation, not only because they reduce visibility but because they can act as an abrasive, damaging an aircraft's wings and fuselage.

The Popocatepetl rumbled to life again this week, belching out towering clouds of ash that forced 11 villages to cancel school sessions.

The explosions registered in the early hours of Saturday were more intense, but authorities — who keep a close eye on the active volcano — are maintaining the threat at an intermediate level.

Keep an eye on an active volcano?  I hope so, but it's easy to forget the volcano when it's not active.

Mexicans have many stories about these volcanoes.  Some go back to the Aztecs:

Popocatepetl is a snow-capped stratovolcano that stands 13,776 ft (4200 m) above the surrounding basin. The name Popocatepetl, meaning "Smoking Mountain", was given to the volcano by the Aztecs, and suggests that the volcano has long been active. Popo, as it is often called, is built on an older volcano which adds 12,464 ft (3800 m) to Popocatepetl's elevation…

Popocatepetl has an almost perfect conical shape up to an elevation of 16,400 ft (5000 m), where the cone becomes more irregular. Its shape is changed by Pico del Fraile (a peak which is the remains of the older stratovolcano called Nexpayantla) which sticks out on the northwest side of Popocatepetl. The crater of Popo is oval shaped, very deep and has near vertical walls. It measures 2,007 by 1,312 ft (612 m by 400 m) across and has a small spatter cone that rises 115 ft (35 m) above the crater floor. The cone is covered with yellow sulphur spots and volcanic gases escape from numerous fumaroles in its walls as well as from the walls of the main crater. ... Accurate knowledge of the activity of this volcano reaches back to the first days of Spanish conquest. Popo has erupted at least 36 times, with the most recent activity starting in 1995 and continuing into 1997.

Well, I worked four years in Mexico, and Popo stayed silent during my time there.  I could see it often, and many tourists would visit some of the looking posts for photos and a closer look.

Popo is back, and flights from Mexico City were delayed.  I guess a volcano has to act like a volcano once in a while.

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Image: MikeCastelan, Pixabay.

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