Mexico’s Mount Popocatépetl erupted on March 18, sending a wave of panic through people who live in its vicinity.

Mount Popocatépetl is an active volcano in central Mexico. It is the second-highest peak in the country, and, according to the Associated Press, has been actively spewing hot rock and ash in the past few months.

Local media reported that the explosion was loud enough to rattle the doors and windows of nearby settlements in Puebla city. The explosion ejected rocks that landed up to two kilometres away on the slopes of Mount Popocatépetl. Residents also reported seeing smoke billowing from the volcano.

A “yellow alert” has been issued by the Mexican government, which means that people should be prepared for a possible evacuation if needs be. A tweet by Protección Civil Seguridad (a Mexican organisation that coordinates actions in response to natural disasters) warned residents of the area not to venture into a 12-km security radius around Mount Popocatépetl.

Reportedly, Popocatépetl stands for the “smoking mountain”. It came back to life in 1994 after almost 50 years of inactivity.