Mexico: An 18 km hike up this volcano opens directly into a one-of-a-kind soccer field: inside its crater

A volcano crater isn’t an apparent location for a soccer match, but it is where a referee blows the whistle every weekend on the outskirts of Mexico City.

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This soccer field exists in the crater of a volcano

volcano AFP

In the Xochimilco district, a green lung in the southeast of the sprawling megacity, the extinct Teoca volcano rises more than 2,700 meters (nearly 8,900 feet) above sea level. On weekends, a dozen amateur league teams compete in its crater.

“It’s a unique launch,” said Adrián García, a graphic designer by trade. “It’s so nice to come here to unwind, relax and spend time with friends and family,” he continued.

The area was previously a ceremonial center, but since it fell out of use, it was converted into a soccer stadium.

“The pitch must be about 70 years old,” said league representative Joel Becerril.

“They used to take me here when I was a kid,” he explained.

A dense mist covers the soccer field at first, but gradually clears as the sun rises.

The summit can be accessed via a single road, as well as via an 11-mile (18-kilometer) hike up the forested slopes of the volcano.

“It’s fantastic,” said goalkeeper Daniel Mancilla Peña, 47. “It’s very impressive to come here to the field and have such a nice environment to play football,” he continued.

football field AFP

According to specialists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, in the south of Mexico City and on the border with the neighboring state of Morelos there are more than 200 volcanoes, most of which are inactive.

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Mexico is located on the Ring of Fire, the most seismically and volcanically active area in the world, where the Pacific plate meets the surrounding tectonic plates.

Popocatepetl, one of the country’s active volcanoes, located about 70 kilometers from the capital, spewed ash, smoke and molten lava in May.

What is a volcano crater?

A volcano crater, also known as a volcanic crater or caldera, is a bowl-shaped depression or void formed on or around the summit of a volcano. The explosive eruption or fall of the cone or peak of the volcano causes it to form.

Craters range in size from small, shallow depressions to massive, deep basins. They can be round or irregular in shape, and often have a central vent or volcanic crater lake. Volcano craters are distinguished by their steep walls and may be active, dormant, or extinct, depending on the region’s volcanic activity.

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