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One of the most clearly visible examples is located on the southwest flank of the cone. It is Mexico's largest island and is about 50 km (30 mi) long and 15 km (9 mi) wide.
Part of the trans-Mexican volcanic belt, Colima is actually a melding of two volcanoes, the older Nevado de Colima to the north and the younger, historically active Volcan de Colima to the south.
Approximately 300,000 people live within 40 km (25 mi) of the volcano earning it designation as a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior.
Among hundreds of volcanic vents and cinder cones are rare maar craters, formed when rising magma met underground water to create pockets of steam that blew nearly circular holes in the overlying crust.
American astronauts used this area in 1965-70 to train for lunar excursions; surrounding the region are the vast sand dune fields of Gran Desierto de Altar. This high-resolution satellite image shows part of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range, on the border between the Coahuila and Nuevo Leon provinces of eastern Mexico.