Mexico's volcano rumbles; thousands flee, others stay
MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) -- Residents of many small towns at the base of
Popocatepetl volcano stayed up until dawn Monday, fearing the mountain's overnight
rumblings were signs that a stronger eruption was brewing.
Officials have urged some 40,000 people living within six miles of the
volcano to leave
the area, but most have ignored the pleas, preferring to stay behind to guard their
belongings and livestock.
About 10,000 people have fled, and buses were parked along roadsides waiting
more people to shelters in safe areas. Interior Minister Santiago Creel said
authorities may force residents to evacuate if the situation becomes more
Scientists have warned that a dome of lava at the base of the 17,886-foot
volcano is causing
pressure to build. That could trigger a strong eruption, throwing rocks and other debris for
The volcano, locally known as "Popo," sits 40 miles southeast of Mexico
City and is often visible
from the second-largest city in the world.
Yet a major eruption would unlikely do more than dust the metropolitan
area's 20 million residents
with ash. At higher risk are the small communities dotting the volcano's base.
The volcano was mostly stable on Monday after a night of low-level earthquakes
and rumblings that kept many nearby residents awake. Several packed their cars
with clothes and valuables, waiting to flee if an eruption happened.
People have grown accustomed to the vapor, ash and incandescent rock that
volcano has been spewing intermittently for the past six years. Still, this week
has been one of its most active in two years.
Scientists are largely concerned by the volcano's unprecedented seismic
Many recent tremors have shaken nearby towns.
The last evacuation was in December 1994, shortly after the volcano became
active again after lying dormant since 1927. It has been 800 years since its last
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.