Mexico's volcano is quiet, but scientists warn of more to come
MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) -- Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano was
mostly quiet on Friday, although scientists warned that the lack of
activity could just be the volcano preparing for another major eruption.
The mountain began spewing a fiery mixture of rock and ash late Monday
its strongest eruption in 1,200 years. It has since settled into quiet sleep, sending
up two large plumes of ash Thursday night, followed by a series of tremors early Friday.
Scientists have warned that energy is still building inside the 17,886-foot
mountain in a possible precursor to more activity.
Saying another strong eruption is likely in the next day, they have urged
the 40,000 people who live
within eight miles of the mountain to stay away.
Although the volcano has returned to the occasional puffs of smoke it has
been sending up
for the past six years, residents were still fearful after this week's spectacular display of red-hot
rock and ash. Most were staying put in shelters, and planned to remain through Christmas.
Before Monday's eruption, many residents had ignored pleas to evacuate,
fearing looters would
steal their belongings.
Soldiers sent in to guard houses during the last evacuation in December
often ended up robbing them. The last evacuation also seemed frivolous to many
because the volcano, which had just become active again after a nearly 70-year
slumber, produced little activity.
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.