Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 18 March-24 March 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 March-24 March 2015
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 March-24 March 2015. 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 18-24 March the seismic network at Popocatépetl recorded 90-222 daily emissions and 1-13 explosions. Cloud cover often prevented observations of the crater, although ash plumes and nighttime crater incandescence were noted. At 0344 on 22 March an explosion ejected incandescent tephra onto the flanks and produced an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim and drifted NE. An ash plume rose 1 km and drifted SE on 23 March. An ash plume rose 1 km on 24 March. The Alert Level remained at 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.