Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 26 April-2 May 2017
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 26 April-2 May 2017
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 26 April-2 May 2017. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Each day during 25 April-2 May CENAPRED reported 26-109 steam and gas emissions from Popocatépetl, sometimes containing ash, and crater incandescence at night or in the early morning. Around seven explosions were detected almost each day, with as many as 15 counted during 26-27 April (from mid-morning to mid-morning). Explosions generated plumes that consisted of water vapor and gas, with low ash content, and during 26-27 April they ejected tephra as far as 100 m NE of the crater. 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.