the most dangerous mountain in the United States” (Mt. Rainier), but if the volcano that I am talking about today experiences a full-blown explosive eruption it could potentially be a cataclysmic event beyond what most of us would dare to imagine. Popocatepetl is an Aztec word that means “smoking mountain”, and it is also the name of a giant volcano that sits approximately 50 miles away from Mexico City’s 18 million residents. “Popo”, as it is called by locals, was dormant for much of the 20th century, but it came back to life in 1994. And now all of this unusual activity in recent weeks has many wondering if a major eruption may be imminent.
Historians tell us that Popocatepetl had a dramatic impact on the
ancient Aztecs. Giant mud flows produced by massive eruptions covered
entire Aztec cities. In fact, some of these mud flows were so large that they buried entire pyramids in super-heated mud.
But we haven’t witnessed anything like that in any of our lifetimes,
so it is hard to even imagine devastation of that magnitude.