Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 24 July-30 July 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 24 July-30 July 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, 24 July-30 July 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 on 23 July the Coordinación Nacional de Protección Civil (CNPC) of the Secretaría de Gobernación (SEGOB), CENAPRED, and a Scientific Advisory Committee lowered the Alert Level at Popocatépetl to Yellow, Phase Two. Access to the crater within a 12-km radius was prohibited.
During 24-30 July seismicity indicated continuing gas-and-steam emissions that sometimes contained ash; cloud cover often prevented visual confirmation. During 24-27 July often continuous plumes rose 200 m above the crater and drifted W, NW, and SW. Incandescence from the crater was observed most nights. Ash in the emissions was observed during 26-27 July. At 1237 and 1917 on 28 July, and 0733 on 29 July, ash plumes rose as high as 2 km and drifted W.
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.