Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 11 April-17 April 2001
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 April-17 April 2001
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2001. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 April-17 April 2001. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Several small-to-moderate exhalations occurred during the week at Popocatéptl. CENAPRED reported that at 1948 on 16 April a moderate explosion sent incandescent fragments up to 2 km away from the volcano's crater to the NE and NW and produced an ash plume that rose 4 km above the crater and drifted to the SW. The 40-second-long eruption partially destroyed the lava dome that had formed within the crater over the course of several weeks. The volcano remained at Alert Level Yellow Phase III, with a restricted 12-km-radius area.
Geologic Background. Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, rises 70 km SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m wide crater. The generally symmetrical volcano is modified by the sharp-peaked Ventorrillo on the NW, a remnant of an earlier volcano. At least three previous major cones were destroyed by gravitational failure during the Pleistocene, producing massive debris-avalanche deposits covering broad areas to the south. The modern volcano was constructed south of the late-Pleistocene to Holocene El Fraile cone. Three major Plinian eruptions, the most recent of which took place about 800 CE, have occurred since the mid-Holocene, accompanied by pyroclastic flows and voluminous lahars that swept basins below the volcano. Frequent historical eruptions, first recorded in Aztec codices, have occurred since Pre-Columbian time.