The potential disaster that is being most heavily featured in the news right now is the ongoing eruption of Mexico's volcano Popocatepetl.
Popo has a long history of active eruptions.
Even in the time of the Aztecs, Popocatepetl was active enough to attain legendary status. Their legend tells the story of Mixtli, a princess, and her true love for a peasant named Popoca. In a tale worthy of Shakespeare, Mixtli believed Popoca had been killed in battle while hoping to attain the a title of nobility which would allow him to fight the evil Axooxco who wanted to marry her. On his triumphant return from battle, Popoca found that Mixtli had committed suicide in her grief of having heard of his death. He carried her body into the mountains in hopes that the cold there would awake her. As he bent over her body looking for signs of life Popoca died from grief and the cold. They were transformed into two volcanoes: Ixtaccihuatl (the sleeping woman) and Popocatepetl (the smoking mountain). Today, these volcanoes loom over the metropolis of Mexico City.
Popocatapetl had erupted many times in both recent times and since ancient memory: Eruptions have been seen in 2007-2009, 2005, 1996-2003, 1994-95, 1947, 1942-43, 1933, 1923-24, 1920-22, 1852, 1827-34, 1802-04, 1720, 1697, 1663-67, 1642, 1592-94, 1590, 1580, 1571, 1548, 1542, 1539-40, 1530, 1528, 1519-23, 1518, 1512, 1509?, 1504, 1488, 1363, 1354, and 1345-47. Many of these eruptions have only reached the current state of the volcano, shooting gas and rocks into the air, but it has not been unknown for the volcano to explode into deadly full strength eruptions. Three eruptions in relatively recent history have released lava flows into the area south of the mountain, and there have been other lava spewing eruptions in the history of the volcano.
Some areas near the volcano have already been evacuated during this eruption and emergency plans are in place to evacuate other areas including Mexico City if necessary. The major effects of the current eruption so far are its impact on air travel in the area.
Mexico's Volcano 'Popo' Shoots Glowing Rocks
The Legend of the Volcanoes Ixtaccihuatl and Popocatépetl
Popocatepetl, Mexico Eruptive History
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