Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 4 July-10 July 2001
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 July-10 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, 4 July-10 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)
On 3 July at 0410 and 0648 moderate-sized explosions occurred. The latter explosion lasted about 10 minutes and produced an ash cloud that rose ~4 km above the volcano. Initially the cloud drifted to the SE and later the highest portion of the cloud drifted to the NW. Based on information from pilot reports and ground observations, the Washington VAAC reported that the ash cloud was 9.3 km SE of Mexico City Airport at 0930. Ashfall occurred in several towns including Chalco, ~35 km NW of the volcano, and there were reports of light ashfall on the airport's runways.
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.