Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 13 February-19 February 2002
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 February-19 February 2002
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2002. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 February-19 February 2002. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Seismicity increased slightly at Popocatépetl during 15-16 February after several weeks of low activity. Harmonic tremor and low-magnitude volcanotectonic micro-earthquakes were recorded. During the same period emissions of gas, steam, and some ash occurred. CENAPRED stated that the activity was possibly related to the ascent of magma and the formation of a new lava dome. They added that this activity could lead to explosions in the next days to weeks. The volcano remained at Alert Level Yellow Phase II.
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.