Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 26 December-1 January 2008
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 26 December-1 January 2008
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2007. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 26 December-1 January 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
CENAPRED reported that emissions of steam-and-gas from Popocatépetl were visible during 30 December-1 January. On 31 December, a 13-minute-long high-frequency tremor event was followed by an emission of a plume with low ash content. The plume rose to an altitude of 7.4 km (24,300 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and 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.