Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 3 September-9 September 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 3 September-9 September 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, 3 September-9 September 2014. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 3-9 September CENAPRED maintained Alert Level Yellow Phase 2 for Popocatepetl. Nighttime incandescence from the crater was visible during this time period. Low-intensity exhalations were observed during 24-hour periods with consecutive daily counts: 15, 1, 5, 17, 30, 12 and 22. On 4 and 5 September, three and four VT earthquakes were detected, respectively, with an average magnitude 1.7. Small pulses of steam and gas drifted WSW during the mornings of 5 and 6 September.
On 7 September, steam and gas emissions were accompanied by 15 minutes of harmonic tremor. At 0315 incandescent tephra was ejected. An ash plume was observed reaching 1 km above the summit and drifting WNW.
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.