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Rising Lava Makes Mexican Volcano 'Increasingly Dangerous' April 20, 2012
Popocatepetl spewing on April 18.
Ash soaring high above Popocatepetl, just southeast of Mexico City, on Wedneday, April 18, 2012.
Mexican authorities warned residents around the country’s famed Popocatepetl volcano that the mountain's rumblings are becoming increasingly dangerous.

The National Disaster Prevention Center warned that the lava dome on the 17,900-foot volcano was showing signs of expansion, increasing the chance of explosions that could expel lava bombs and other hot debris over a wide area.

Several minor eruptions occurred just prior to the warning, which sent vapor, smoke and gas billowing high into the sky 40 miles southeast of downtown Mexico City.

Popocatepetl has become increasingly active during 2012.

A major eruption in 2000 forced 50,000 people to evacuate in three states that surround the towering mountain.

Photo: CENAPRED