Volcanic ash shuts small Mexico airport 7 hours

In this image released by the Mexican Navy (SEMAR), steam and ash rise from the crater of the Popocatepetl volcano, left, on the outskirts of Mexico City as seen from inside a navy aircraft as it approaches the volcano on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. AP Photo/SEMAR

MEXICO CITY An airport serving Mexico's fourth-largest city suspended operations for seven hours because of volcanic ash from the Popocatepetl volcano.

The international airport in Puebla was temporarily closed as a precautionary measure, said Puebla airport spokesman Herbert Lopez Palma.

Palma said the airport re-opened after the ash stopped falling and the airstrips were cleaned up.

The temporary closure affected six domestic and international flights to Houston and Dallas, Texas.

The airport is east of Mexico City and about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the 17,886-foot (5,450-meter) volcano.

At the Mexico City airport, Alaska Airlines on Friday canceled its daily flight to and from Los Angeles.

Authorities said this week that a lava dome is growing inside the crater and could cause further eruptions.

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