Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 23 October-29 October 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 23 October-29 October 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, 23 October-29 October 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 23-25 October seismicity at Popocatépetl indicated continuing emissions of water vapor, gas, and occasional small amounts of ash; cloud cover sometimes prevented observations of the crater. On 24 October an explosion at 2111 produced an ash plume that rose 1 km and drifted SW. Eight low-intensity explosions on 26 October increased gas and steam emissions and produced slight amounts of ash. Incandescence from the crater was observed overnight during 26-27 October. An explosion was detected on 27 October; cloud cover prevented visual observations. An ash plume rose 1 km and drifted W on 28 October. 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.