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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 19.308°N
  • 98.7°W

  • 3600 m
    11808 ft

  • 341081
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Papayo.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Papayo.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Papayo.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



Unknown - Evidence Credible

3600 m / 11808 ft


Volcano Types

Lava dome

Rock Types


Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Geological Summary

The 3600-m-high postglacial Papayo lava dome, constructed along the crest of the Sierra Nevada range, is dwarfed by its massive neighbor Iztaccíhuatl volcano, 15 km to the SW. Papayo has been the source of voluminous dacitic lava flows that have traveled about 10 km from the vent both to the WSW and ENE. The steep-sided Cerro Papayo dacitic lava dome, rising 230 m above the surrounding lava flows, marks the vent. The 84 sq km compound lava field has a volume of about 21 cu km and includes flows that traveled long distances in opposite directions into the Valley of Mexico and toward the Puebla basin. Papayo lavas overlie glacial moraines about 12,000 years old (Nixon, 1989). On the western side the flows surround the glaciated late-Pleistocene lava and pyroclastic cone of Iztaltetlac.


The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography.

Cadoux A, Missenard Y, Martinez-Serrano R G, Guillou H , 2011. Trenchward Plio-Quaternary volcanism migration in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt: the case of the Sierra Nevada range. Geol Mag, 148: 492-506.

Nixon G T, 1989. The geology of Iztaccihuatl volcano and adjacent areas of the Sierra Nevada and Valley of Mexico. Geol Soc Amer Spec Pap, 219: 1-58.

The Global Volcanism Program is not aware of any Holocene eruptions from Papayo. If this volcano has had large eruptions (VEI >= 4) prior to 10,000 years ago, information might be found on the Papayo page in the LaMEVE (Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions) database, a part of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Iztaltetlac, Cerro Pyroclastic cone 3200 m 19° 18' 0" N 98° 44' 0" W

Photo Gallery

The rounded dacitic lava dome Papayo rises 2.5 km south of the pass in the northern Sierra Nevada between Mexico City and Puebla. The 1-km-wide Cerro Papayo dome rises 230 m above surrounding lava flows. Cerro Papayo fed voluminous dacitic lava flows that traveled about 10 km ENE toward the Puebla basin and 10 km WSW into the Valley of Mexico.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
The Mexico City-Puebla highway skirts the northern margin of a voluminous dacitic lava flow from Papayo volcano, a dacitic lava dome whose rounded summit barely appears above the horizon to the SW above the trucks at the right. The massive compound lava flow covers an area of 84 sq km and has a volume of about 21 cu km. The flows display transverse arcuate pressure ridges, longitudinal troughs, and lateral levees.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
The rounded knob at the center of the photo is Papayo volcano, a dacitic lava dome erupted along the crest of the Sierra Nevada 15 km north of Iztaccíhuatl volcano. The dome, seen here from the west, was the source of a voluminous postglacial lava flow that traveled 9.5 km to the WSW and more than 10 km to ENE. The Mexico City-Puebla highway (left) follows the northern margin of the lava flow, which covers an area of 84 sq km.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
The broad forested area in the foreground is a voluminous lava flow extending from Papayo volcano (where the photo was taken) toward the Puebla basin. The massive 84 sq km dacitic lava flow has a volume of about 21 cu km. The compound flow extends more than 10 km to the ENE and 9.5 km to the SW down to 2500 m elevation in the Valley of Mexico. Initial flows traveled at least 5 km to the ENE and were followed by a series of later flows that formed a 2-km-wide platform that reached about 10 km from the vent.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
Papayo is the small rounded, forested lava dome on the far right horizon; the two peaks with snow-dusted summits on the horizon are Tláloc (left) and Telapón (center). This view looks to the NE across the Valley of Mexico from the flanks of the Sierra de Chichinautzin range.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2004 (Smithsonian Institution).
This dramatic photo looking south from Telapón volcano shows the rounded Papayo lava dome in the foreground, with snow-capped Iztaccíhuatl (left) and Popocatépetl (right) in the background. These volcanoes, along with Telapón, and Tláloc stratovolcanoes, form a prominent N-S-trending chain east of Mexico City transverse to the trend of the Mexican Volcanic Belt.

Photo by Anita Cadoux, 2007 (Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM, Mexico).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Papayo in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Papayo Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
MODVOLC - HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. For each MODIS image, the algorithm automatically scans each 1 km pixel within it to check for high-temperature hot-spots. When one is found the date, time, location, and intensity are recorded. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. Each day updated global maps are compiled to display the locations of all hot spots detected in the previous 24 hours. There is a drop-down list with volcano names which allow users to 'zoom-in' and examine the distribution of hot-spots at a variety of spatial scales.
MIROVA Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA) is a near real time volcanic hot-spot detection system based on the analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data. In particular, MIROVA uses the Middle InfraRed Radiation (MIR), measured over target volcanoes, in order to detect, locate and measure the heat radiation sourced from volcanic activity.