Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 9 August-15 August 2017
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 August-15 August 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, 9 August-15 August 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 9-13 and 15 August CENAPRED reported 97-355 steam and gas emissions from Popocatépetl; the daily count increased to 702 on 14 June. Crater incandescence was visible on some nights. A small explosion at 0815 on 14 August produced a plume with low ash content that rose 500 m above the crater rim and drifted SW. Explosions at 1759 and 1805 generated ash plumes that rose 0.8 and 1.5 km, respectively, and drifted W. On 15 August an explosion produced an ash plume that rose 1 km and drifted WNW. 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.