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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 9 July-15 July 2003

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 July-15 July 2003
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 July-15 July 2003. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (9 July-15 July 2003)


Popocatepetl

Mexico

19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


During 9-15 July, moderate emissions of mainly gas, steam, and sometimes ash, occurred at Popocatépetl. An eruption on 9 July at 0910 sent ash to a height of ~1 km above the summit.

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.

Sources: Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)