Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 28 August-3 September 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 28 August-3 September 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, 28 August-3 September 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 28 August-3 September seismicity at Popocatépetl indicated continuing emissions; cloud cover sometimes prevented observations of the crater. Incandescence from the crater was observed on most nights. On 28 August gas, steam, and ash plumes rose 200-800 m and drifted SW. Gas-and-steam plumes were observed the next day. On 30 August gas and steam plumes that sometimes contained ash rose 1 km above the crater and drifted W. During 1-2 September steam and gas plumes containing minor amounts of ash drifted WSW. Ashfall was reported in Tetela del Volcán (20 km SW) and Ocuituco (24 km SW) on 1 September, and in Ecatzingo (15 km SW) on 2 September. The Alert Level remained at to Yellow, Phase Two.
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.