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Mexican Volcanoes About to Blow

A small explosion at Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano caused a light fall of ash on Wednesday. The 17,886-foot Popocatepetl volcano has been erupting off and on since December 1994.

Scientist have recorded low-level tremors within the volcano, which is 40 miles southeast of Mexico City, and several clouds of gas have escaped from its crater, according to Mexico's National Center for the Prevention of Disasters.

The last time Popo threatened to erupt, UFOs were videotaped flying near the opening to the crater. See news story ?Stunning UFO Photo over Popo, click here.

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Mexico's Volcano of Fire is spewing large amounts of lava and ash and officials warn an eruption is imminent. On Wednesday, the volcano in Mexico's western state of Colima lit up the night sky as it shot of lava from its fiery crater. Authorities have evacuated 300 people living around the volcano's base as lava has started to spill down its southwestern slopes. The volcano towers 12,664 feet above a sparsely populated region about 350 miles west of Mexico.

"Tests for sulfur dioxide gas have been done that show magmatic material is ascending to the (volcanic) cone and there has been a rise in the most recent such test," says Jesus Muniz, a volcano expert from the University of Colima. "There exists the possibility of an eruption, which would occur within 10 or 15 days."

It has erupted 25 times in the past 500 years, with the last major explosion in 1913. The 1913 explosion created a crater 1,650 feet deep and blasted fast-moving flows of hot ash down the volcano's slopes, raining ash on Guadalajara, 75 miles to the north. In 1999, the volcano threw rocks weighing more than 200 pounds as far as two miles and sent up a plume of ash more than 5 miles high. Scientists say there is the risk of an eruption somewhere between the size of those in 1999 and in 1913.

Volcanologists consider the Colima volcano to be one of the most active and potentially the most destructive of Mexico's volcanoes. It is now on a phase four alert, with phase five being the maximum. Muniz says, "There's been a rise in temperature (of the volcano)...and an average of 136 landslides off its dome per day."

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