(Phys.org) -- NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-13, captures visible and infrared images of weather over the eastern U.S. every 15 minutes, and spotted an ash and gas cloud streaming from Mexico's Popocatepetl Volcano over several hours during the morning of April 18, 2012. The short, four second black and white video covers several hours and shows the volcano's ash blowing to the east, and over the town of Puebla.
NOAA operates the GOES series of satellites, and NASA's GOES Project, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. compiles the images into animations.
"Popocatepetl" is the Aztec word for "smoking mountain," and the GOES animation showed the wind carrying the gas and smoke to the east-southeast on April 18 before the volcano became shrouded by clouds and the ash cloud became obscured. Popocatepetl is located about 34 miles (55 kilometers east of Mexico City. More than 30 million people live within sight of the volcano.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), on April 16, the volcano's gas and ash plume reached a height of about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers), spreading ash in the nearby town of Puebla. The Alert level at the volcano remains at "Yellow Phase Three," according to Mexico's National Center for Prevention of Disasters (CENAPRED).
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