GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) -- Army troops guarding evacuated villages
on the flanks of the rumbling Colima volcano were themselves withdrawn to a
safer distance Sunday as concern grew among experts that another large
eruption may occur.
Dozens of soldiers assigned to guard the empty houses in the villages of
Buena, in Colima state, and Juan Barragan in Jalisco state, were ordered to
move one to two miles further away from the peak, said Jaime Arturo Paz,
Jalisco state civil defense spokesman.
Police and soldiers were pulled back to a radius of between 5.3 and 7.2
(8.5 to 11.5 kms) around the peak, and residents of four hamlets within that
radius were told to prepare for a possible evacuation.
That would add another 400 people to the 250 evacuated May 10 from several
hamlets nearest the 4,000-meter (13,000-foot) volcano 75 miles (125
kilometers) south of Guadalajara, considered one of Mexico's most dangerous
Should a third phase of evacuation be declared, as many as 16,000 people
villages as 18 miles (30 kms) of the peak could be asked to leave their homes
and go to shelters in schools located farther from the peak.
"The micro-seismic internal activity of the volcano continues to increase
pointing to the possibility that more explosions may occur similar to those of
May 10, February 10 or of even greater intensity," the Interior Secretariat said
in a press statement.
The May 10 eruption sent a plume of smoke and ash about 5,000 meters
(16,400 feet) into the air, and a month earlier a series of explosions rocked the
volcano and shot ash three miles into the air.
The Colima volcano experienced a large explosion in 1913 and had small
eruptions in 1961, 1975, 1987, 1994 and 1998.
Meanwhile, moderate explosions occurred at the Popocatepetl volcano located
near Mexico City Sunday and the peak spouted a 1/12-mile (2.5 km) column
of ash and vapor into the air. However, there were no reports of ash falling on
nearby towns, the National Center for Disaster Prevention reported.
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.