‘Don Goyo’ turns on the alarms: How does the Popocatépetl volcanic alert traffic light work?

The Popocatépetl volcanic alert traffic light is in phase 2 yellow, this after 188 exhalations were reported in the last 24 hours accompanied by water vapor, volcanic gases and ash, according to the National Center for Disaster Prevention (Cenapred).

In addition to the exhalations, the agency reported that three moderate explosions and three other minor explosions were reported, this between the afternoon and evening of Saturday the 25th and the early hours of this Sunday March 26.

The recommendation of Cenapred, given the constant issuance of water vapor and volcanic gases heading northeast, It is not to ascend to the Popocatépetl crater, since there is a possibility that the explosions will continue and intensify. He also asked to stay away from the bottom of ravines in case of heavy rains.

The reports of exhalations and explosions coming from Popocatépetl (also known as ‘Don Goyo’) have increased since Friday, March 24, for which reason The authorities recalled the state of the alert in order to prevent the population living near the volcano.

How does the Popocatépetl volcanic alert work?

It is a mechanism of the National Civil Protection System that maintains information related to hazard levels, derived from volcanic activity.

This works through three levels, with which people will know what actions to take and if they can carry out their day-to-day activities.

This volcanic alert traffic light is divided as follows:


It means that Popocatépetl is calm and that people can carry out their activities without impediment. In addition it is a good opportunity to learn about as:

  • Evacuation routes.
  • Sites or meeting centers.
  • Temporary shelters.
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At this stage, the population is asked be aware of the warnings of the authorities, as well as prepare for a possible evacuation. This is divided into three phases:

  • 1: Manifestation of activity.
    • Frequent local volcanic seismicity.
    • Sporadic and light ash emissions.
  • 2: Increase in activity (in which the Valley of Mexico is currently located).
    • Water vapor plume.
    • Light ash fall in nearby areas.
    • Fall of incandescent fragments.
  • 3: Intermediate to high activity.
    • Rapid growth of large domes and their destruction in strong explosions.
    • Persistence of fumaroles, gas and slight ash fall in nearby areas.


In this means there is danger, and people must be ready for an evacuation in order to avoid being affected by the explosions of the Popocatépetl volcano. This is divided into two phases.

  • 1: Intermediate to high hazard explosive activity.
    • Eruptive column of several kilometers of water vapor and gas.
    • Launch of incandescent fragments on the slopes of the volcano.
  • 2: High to Extreme Hazard Explosive Activity
    • Powerful eruptive columns.
    • Intense fall of ash, sand and volcanic fragments at greater distances.

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