Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 27 June-3 July 2001
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 June-3 July 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, 27 June-3 July 2001. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Volcanic activity at Popocatépetl remained at normal levels, with several small exhalations of steam, gas, and small amounts of ash. Based on information from the Mexico City MWO, the Washington VAAC stated that on 1 July at 0915 a small eruption produced an ash plume that rose to less than 1 km above the volcano and drifted to the SSW. On 3 July at 0425 a moderate-sized exhalation produced an ash cloud seen on satellite imagery to spread in two directions; to less than 1 km above the volcano drifting to the NW, and ~4 km above the volcano drifting to the SE.
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.