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5.24.2005

Mexico's 'Fire Volcano' erupts



MEXICO CITY, Mexico (Reuters) -- Mexico's so-called "Fire Volcano" has erupted, spewing lava and glowing rocks in its biggest explosion since 1999, a director of the country's civil protection agency has said.

A huge gray column of smoke billowed into the evening air from a crater of the 3,860 meter (12,540 foot) volcano in the western state of Colima, television images show.

The "Fire Volcano" is located in a sparsely populated rural area about 500 kilometers (300 miles) from the capital, Mexico City.

There were no immediate plans to evacuate any of the tiny villages that lie around the volcano, Luis Salazar, operations director of the Civil Protection agency in Colima, said.

"There was an explosion that sent up a column of smoke some 4 kilometers(2.5 miles) into the air," Salazar told Reuters.

"We are monitoring the situation but for the moment there is no need to evacuate."

Colima University's Volcano Observatory said on its Web site that: "At 1910 local (0110 GMT) there was the biggest explosion ever registered on our monitoring systems."

The observatory did not say when it began monitoring activity at the volcano.

Villagers were last evacuated in May 2002, after a series of small eruptions.

The last major explosion of the Fire Volcano was in 1913, but it has erupted intermittently in the last decade.

Originally posted at Signs of the Times