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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 12 November-18 November 2008

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 November-18 November 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, 12 November-18 November 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (12 November-18 November 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 12-18 November. Based on analysis of satellite imagery and information from the Mexico City MWO, the Washington VAAC reported that on 17 November an ash plume rose to an altitude of 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW and WSW. A thermal anomaly was also detected. According to CENAPRED, the emissions contained slight amounts of ash on 18 November.

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)