Ash Plume from Popocatepetl Volcano
NASA satellites have been keeping watch on the ash and smoke coming from the Popocatepetl volcano in Mexico. "Popocatepetl" is the Aztec word for "smoking mountain."
NASA's Aqua satellite flew over Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano on April 16, 2012 at 20:15 UTC (4:15 p.m. EDT) and captured this visible image of its plume of smoke and ash. The image was taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that flies onboard the Aqua satellite. MODIS also flies on NASA's Terra satellite.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), on April 16, the volcano's gas and ash plume reached a height of about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers), spreading ash in the nearby town of Puebla. Mexico's National Center for Prevention of Disasters (CENAPRED) increased the Alert Level at the volcano to Yellow Phase Three. On April 16-17 the gas-and-steam emissions were reported as being constant.
Popocatepetl is located about 34 miles (55 kilometers east of Mexico City. More than 30 million people live within sight of the volcano. The last significant eruption was recorded from 1920-1922, and minor ash clouds were reported in 1923-24, 1933, 1942-43, and 1947, according to USGS. The most recent activity occurred on December 21, 1994 when ash from the volcano dusted the city of Puebla, east of the volcano's summit.
Image credit: NASA/Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team
Text credit: USGS/Rob Gutro, NASA Goddard