Popocatepetl, the second highest peak in Mexico, has erupted once again and is spewing ash that could reach Mexico City, which is 40 miles away.
The volcano shot chunks of rock into nearby towns and witnesses say the smoke and ash plume rose at least four kilometers into the air. Residents may be evacuated if the eruptions continue, but everyone in the area has been on standby since mid-May, when a large eruption was accompanied by two earthquakes.
The last big eruption was in 2000, when the volcano showed its most violent display in 1200 years and forced thousands of people to evacuate. There is a myth about Popocatepetl and nearby volcano Iztaccíhuatl which tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers, Popoca and Izztaccihuati (“White Lady”). Iztaccihuati, the daughter of an Aztec Emporer, fell in love with Popoca, who was sent off to war. When an enemy sent false word back home that Popoca was dead, Iztaccihuati died of a broken heart, and when Popoca came home victorious from battle to find her dead, he carried her body to the top of a mountain and had a funeral table built for her. Popoca stayed to watch over her until he, too, died of a broken heart.
The Gods were touched by Popoca’s sacrifice and changed their bodies into great volcanos, making Popoca the largest one and dubbing it Popocatepetl (“Smoking Mountain”). The story goes that he sometimes throws out great plumes of smoke and ash as a reminder that he still watches over Iztaccihuatl, who lays sleeping still.
You can watch live streaming of the volcano here.