Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 6 November-12 November 2019
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 November-12 November 2019
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2019. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 November-12 November 2019. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During an overflight of Popocatépetl on 5 November CENAPRED scientists, researchers from Instituto de Geofísica de UNAM, and members of the Coordinación Nacional de Protección Civil observed lava dome number 85 in the bottom of the inner summit crater. The dome was 210 m in diameter, 80 m thick, and had an irregular surface. The inner crater remained 350 m in diameter and was 90 m deep. CENAPRED reported that each day during 6-12 November there were 58-148 steam-and-gas emissions, some of which contained ash. Explosions at 0300 and 0501 on 6 November and at 0023 and 0655 on 7 November ejected incandescent tephra onto the upper flanks. Five more explosions were detected on 6 November. Eruptive events at 0858 and 0941 on 9 November generated ash plumes that rose 2 km above the crater rim and drifted NW; between those two ash emissions explosions were recorded at 0923 and 2055. Explosions on 10 November were recorded at 0648 and 1636. An explosion at 2203 on 11 November ejected incandescent tephra as far down the E flank as 1.5 km and generated an ash plume that rose 2 km and drifted NE. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two (middle level on a three-color scale).
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.