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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 20 February-26 February 2008

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 February-26 February 2008
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 February-26 February 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (20 February-26 February 2008)


Popocatepetl

Mexico

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 20-26 February. The plumes occasionally contained slight amounts of ash. Explosions on 21 and 22 February resulted in ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 7.4 km (24,300 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE. Incandescent fragments were ejected from the crater and fell on the flanks. On 22 February, the ejected fragments fell on the SE flank.

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)