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Mexican authorities deny Colima volcano threat after earthquake: ‘Do not listen to rumours’


The Colima volcano in Mexico

The Colima volcano in Mexico

The Colima volcano in Mexico

Mexican authorities are urging calm following social media rumours concerning volcanic activity following Monday’s earthquake.

The centre monitoring the Colima volcano said in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday morning that the volcano “is calm” and urged people to “remember not to spread rumours and stay calm at all times. We live in a very tectonically active area and you always have to be prepared,” according to a translated tweet.

According to the site Volcano Discovery, the “Colima volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in North America and one of the potentially most dangerous ones. It has had more than 30 periods of eruptions since 1585, including several significant eruptions in the late 1990s”.

“Aftershocks continue to appear, this is because part of the plate is still in its accommodation process, the aftershocks will continue and perhaps some will be felt,” the Colima research centre said, citing a seismogram from one of the stations nearest the volcano.

Shortly after 10pm on Monday, the centre said that “no explosions or ash emissions have been observed so far. Do not listen to rumours and consult only official pages”.

The Mexican National Center for Prevention of Disasters said in a summary of the activity at the Popocatépetl volcano in the central parts of the country that “45 exhalations were detected accompanied by water vapour, volcanic gases and light amounts of ash” at the volcano in the last 24 hours.

“During the morning and at the time of this report, it presents emission of water vapour, volcanic gases and light amounts of ash towards the west,” the national centre and the National Autonomous University of Mexico added.

The centre urged people not to approach the volcano because of the danger of falling fragments. In case of heavy rains, the centre warned of the flow of mud and debris.

“The recommendations for the population regarding this activity are: Ignore rumours and be attentive to the information issued by the National Civil Protection Coordination through its official channels and accounts,” the centre said.

Coordinación Nacional de Protección Civil urged people on Monday to only “consult official sources” after an earthquake, before adding: “Avoid spreading information that has not been confirmed, as it only creates confusion.”

In Tuesday’s government notice regarding the activity at the Popocatépetl volcano, the authorities said the fall of ash is “probable”.

Recommendations include “cover the nose and mouth with a handkerchief or face mask,” “clean eyes and throat with water,” “avoid contact lenses to reduce eye irritation,” and “close windows or cover them and stay indoors as much as possible”.

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The authorities added that “low to intermediate explosive activity” is expected to continue.

According to the Global Volcanism Program at the Smithsonian Institution, “records of activity” at the Popocatépetl volcano “date back to the 14th century and the current eruption period has been ongoing since January 2005 ... recently, activity has consisted of intermittent crater incandescence, frequent ash explosions, and ash emissions”.

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