Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 9 July-15 July 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 July-15 July 2014
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2014. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 July-15 July 2014. 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 24 June-15 July, seismicity at Popocatépetl indicated continuing emissions of water vapor, gas, and occasional small amounts of ash. Cloud cover sometimes prevented visual observations. Slight nighttime incandescence was observed during 25 and 26 June and also during 1-3, 6-8, and 10-15 July. Explosions from the summit were detected an average of 10 times each day, producing plumes with minor ash content that rose 500-2,500 m above the crater and drifted NE and NW. Activity increased in early July; up to 216 explosions (low and moderate intensity) were detected over 24 hours on 9 July. CENAPRED reported harmonic tremor on 2 July (maximum of 80 minutes in 24 hours) and 12 July (minimum of 8 minutes). 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.