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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Mexican Volcano's Eruptions Threaten to Overflow Its Rim

May 09, 1996|Times staff and wire reports

The 17-month-old eruptions of Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano have entered into a new--and deadly--phase, with the growth of a lava dome to within 150 feet of the rim, according to Mexican and U.S. scientists. Arizona State University volcanologist Stanley Williams warned that if the dome, being fed by 200,00 cubic feet of fresh lava daily, overtops the rim, it could melt glaciers on the 17,887-foot mountain's side and generate mudflows down the outer slopes.

On May 2, the bodies of five hikers who had disappeared three days earlier were found near the rim of the volcano, 39 miles southeast of Mexico City. They had burns and contusions, indicating that they had been caught by a large eruption, making them the first fatalities of the eruptions.

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