Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 29 May-4 June 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 May-4 June 2013
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 May-4 June 2013. 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 during 29 May-4 June seismicity at Popocatépetl indicated continuing gas-and-steam emissions that contained variable amounts of ash; cloud cover often prevented visual confirmation. Incandescence from the crater was often observed at night. On most days steam-and-gas plumes were observed drifting SW and SSW. Some periods of high-frequency and low-amplitude tremor were detected on 31 May and 1 June. During the early morning on 3 June a continuous plume of steam and ash was observed drifting SW. Later that day an ash plume rose 1 km on 3 June. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Three.
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.