May 24, 2005

Volcano in Western Mexico Erupts

MEXICO CITY -- A volcano in western Mexico unleased its most powerful eruption in more than a decade Monday, shooting ash two miles into the sky and sending burning gas and rock fragments down the slopes.

No injuries or damages were reported - the nearest settlement is about four miles away. Winds blew the ash cloud toward the west, away from the most heavily populated areas.

Tonatiuh Dominguez, a seismologist at the volcano observation station operated by the University of Colima, warned that the peak "is still in an explosive stage."

Experts said it was the biggest explosion at the volcano in the western state of Colima since 1991. The Colima volcano, which has erupted violently dozens of times since its first recorded eruption in 1560, is considered to be among the most active and potentially the most destructive of the volcanoes in Mexico.

The eruption at the 12,533-foot volcano, 430 miles northwest of Mexico City, was considered larger than one in 1999 but smaller than a 1913 blast that created a crater 1,650 feet deep and rained ash on Guadalajara, 75 miles to the north.