Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 3 January-9 January 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 3 January-9 January 2018
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2018. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 3 January-9 January 2018. 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 at 1348 on 1 January an explosion at Popocatépetl generated a plume with low ash content that rose 0.5 km above the crater rim and drifted SE. Each day during 3-9 January there were 110-588 emissions, some of which contained minor amounts of ash. Beginning at 2032 on 6 January Strombolian activity generated an ash, gas, and water vapor emission that rose 800 m and drifted SE, and ejected incandescent material 200-300 m onto the flanks. Explosions were recorded at 0131 and 0222 on 8 January. 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.