May 23, 2000

Mexican volcano Popocatepetl spits ash skyward

                  MEXICO CITY (AP) -- A large volcano outside Mexico City erupted Monday,
                  spitting ash more than a mile (2 kilometers) into the air, and forecasters said
                  some ash could fall on eastern parts of the city.

                  Popocatepetl, a 17,886-foot-high volcano about 40 miles southeast of Mexico
                  City, spewed ash that was blown westward toward the city, according to the
                  National Center for the Prevention of Disasters. The center said it was possible
                  some eastern parts of the city would see falling ash during the day.

                  Officials in February expanded the recommended no-enter zone around the
                  volcano to four miles from three miles because of increased activity, including
                  the formation of a new lava dome within the crater.

                  The volcano has been spewing vapor, ash and rock intermittently since
                  December 1994 after lying largely dormant since 1927. It had been relatively
                  quiet over the past year, but produced minor eruptions in October and