Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl

August 16, 2008

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Provided by: Marco A. Piña
Summary Author and Editor: Marco A. Piña, Stu Witmer

The photo above shows Iztaccihuatl at left and Popocatepetl at far right. "Izta" is a dormant volcano which last erupted in 1868, while "Popo" is the most active volcano north of the equator. With ongoing volcanic events nearly every year since 1994, it is therefore considered potentially dangerous. Both of these mountains are within 50 miles (80 km) of Mexico City and lie about 10 miles (16 km) apart. Millions of people could be affected by a catastrophic eruption – the last of which occurred perhaps 1,000 years ago. Izta, at 17,159 ft (5,230 m) above sea level, is the third highest mountain in Mexico. Popocatepetl, approximately 17,930 ft (5,465 m) is the second highest Mexican peak. The summits of both Iztaccihuatl, Nahuatl for "white woman", and Popocatepetl, "smoking mountain", are sufficiently high and cold to sustain permanent ice fields. Photo taken in February of 2008.