Glowing shards of molten earth and "incandescent rocks" flew nearly 330 feet from the crater, and reached thousands of feet overhead.
The fierce blast occurred around 3:35 p.m., but came as no surprise to geologists who have been following Popocatépetl volcano's recent activity.
For months magma has pressed up against the top of the crater. Gaseous vapors have also seeped from its simmering crevices.
"Any time magma rises up, you see those steam plumes. All that pressure is released rapidly and everything fumes out the top," Erik Klemetti, volcanologist at Denison University, told the Daily News.
The blast's thunderous roar stopped locals cold in their tracks as it echoed throughout the region, reported newspaper La Jornada.
The last time Mexico experienced a rupture of this magnitude was two years ago, but there have been similar, smaller blasts over the past few months.
"The reason it ended up getting everyone's attention is because it was such a gorgeous day and there was good footage from the webcams," Klemetti said.
In most cases the footage condensed 10 minutes of video into 30 seconds.
After the rupture, the volcano returned to its previous activity levels. As such, Mexico's National Center for Prevention of Disasters (CENAPRED) did not change the volcano's previous alert level: Yellow, Phase 2.
"It's been in effect a few months now," Klemetti said. "That alert says that at any time it could have an explosion like this."