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Mexico's 'smoking mountain' lives up to its name (+video)

Mexican officials have raised the alert level for the volcano, Popocatépetl, as it spews ash and steam into the air and onto nearby communities.

Mexico raises volcano alert
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Mexico's Popocatépetl, North America's second largest volcano, is acting up.

Beginning Monday, red-hot rock, ash, and steam have begun spewing from the volcano a half-mile into the sky. In response, Mexico's National Disaster Prevention Centre raised their alert level to stage five (out of seven).  Several schools have closed and local officials have readied emergency shelters.

Popocatépetl belongs to the group of stratovolcanos, otherwise known as composite volcanoes, which also includes the likes of Mount Shasta in California and Mount St. Helens in Washington.

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