Los Humeros

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 19.68°N
  • 97.45°W

  • 3150 m
    10332 ft

  • 341093
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Los Humeros.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Los Humeros.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Los Humeros.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



4470 BCE

3150 m / 10332 ft


Volcano Types

Lava dome(s)
Pyroclastic cone(s)

Rock Types

Andesite / Basaltic Andesite
Basalt / Picro-Basalt
Trachyte / Trachyandesite

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)


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

Geological Summary

Los Humeros is the easternmost of a series of silicic volcanic centers with active geothermal systems located north of the axis of the Mexican Volcanic Belt. The first major silicic eruption produced the 230 cu km Xáltipan Ignimbrite about 460,000 years before present (BP), which covered about 3500 sq km and resulted in formation of the 15 x 21 km Los Humeros caldera. The emplacement of post-caldera lava domes and eruption of the 40 cu km Faby Tuff about 240,000 years BP was followed by eruption of the Zaragoza Tuff about 100,000 years BP and formation of the nested 10-km-wide Los Potreros caldera. A third and much smaller caldera (El Xalapazco) was formed about 40,000-20,000 years BP. The most recent eruptions at Los Humeros include the production of extensive morphologically youthful basaltic lava flows that are undated, but are younger than a 20,000 years BP rhyolitic lava flow and could be in part of early Holocene age. A major explosive eruption about 6400 years ago produced the bimodal plinian Cuilcuiltic Member tephra. Hot springs and fumarolic activity continues at Los Humeros, which is a producing geothermal field, the second developed in the Mexican Volcanic Belt.


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

Campos-Enriquez J O, Arredondo-Fragoso J J, 1992. Gravity study of Los Humeros caldera complex, Mexico; structure and associated geothermal system. J Volc Geotherm Res, 49: 69-90.

Carrasco-Nunez G, Branney M J, 2005. Progressive assembly of a massive layer of ignimbrite with a normal-to-reverse compositional zoning: the Zaragoza ignimbrite of central Mexico. Bull Volc, 68: 3-20.

Davila-Harris P, Carrasco-Nunez G, 2014. An unusual syn-eruptive bimodal eruption: the Holocene Cuicuiltic Member at Los Humeros caldera, Mexico. Bull Volc, 271: 24-42. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2013.11.020

Ferriz H, Mahood G A, 1984. Eruption rates and compositional trends at Los Humeros Volcanic Center, Puebla Mexico. J Geophys Res, 89: 8511-8524.

Ferriz H, Mahood G A, 1987. Strong compositional zonation in a silicic magmatic system: Los Humeros, Mexican neovolcanic belt. J Petr, 28: 171-209.

Martinez-S R G, Jacquier B, Arnold M, 1996. The delta 34S composition of sulfates and sulfides at the Los Humeros geothermal system, Mexico and their application to physicochemical fluid evolution. J Volc Geotherm Res, 73: 99-118.

Mooser F H, 1972. The Mexican Volcanic Belt: structure and tectonics. Geof Internac, 12: 55-70.

Negendank J F W, Emmermann R, Krawczyk R, Mooser F, Tobschall H, Werle D, 1985. Geological and geochemical investigations on the eastern Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. Geof Internac, 24: 477-575.

Prol-Ledesma R M, 1998. Pre- and post-exploitation variations in hydrothermal activity in Los Humeros geothermal field, Mexico. J Volc Geotherm Res, 83: 313-333.

Verma S P, 1983. Magma genesis and chamber processes at Los Humeros Caldera, Mexico; Nd and Sr isotope data. Nature, 302: 52-55.

Verma S P, 1984. Alkali and alkaline earth element geochemistry of Los Humeros Caldera, Puebla, Mexico. J Volc Geotherm Res, 20: 21-40.

Verma S P, 2000a. Geochemical evidence for a lithospheric source for magmas from Los Humeros caldera, Puebla, Mexico. Chem Geol, 164: 35-60.

Verma S P, 1985. Heat source in Los Humeros geothermal area, Puebla, Mexico. Trans Geotherm Res Council, 9(Part 1): 521-526.

Verma S P, Lopez-Martinez M, 1982. Geochemistry of Los Humeros caldera, Puebla, Mexico. Bull Volc, 45: 63-79.

Eruptive History

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
4470 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed Radiocarbon (corrected) NW and SE sides of caldera, Cuicuiltic Member

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.


Humaredas, Las


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Arenas, Cerro Cone 3020 m 19° 39' 0" N 97° 28' 0" W
Chiapa Shield volcano 3140 m 19° 43' 0" N 97° 25' 0" W
Maztaloya Cone 3100 m 19° 38' 0" N 97° 25' 30" W
Orilla del Monte Shield volcano 2920 m 19° 40' 0" N 97° 22' 30" W
Viola, La Cone 3000 m 19° 41' 0" N 97° 23' 0" W


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Potreros, Los Pleistocene caldera 2920 m 19° 40' 0" N 97° 26' 0" W
Xalapazco, El Pleistocene caldera 3000 m 19° 38' 0" N 97° 26' 0" W


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Aguilas, Las Dome 2740 m 19° 33' 0" N 97° 31' 0" W
Lineas, Las Dome 19° 46' 0" N 97° 25' 0" W
Oyameles Dome 3060 m 19° 42' 0" N 97° 30' 30" W

Photo Gallery

Los Humeros caldera on the horizon to the NW is the site of the Los Humeros geothermal field, the easternmost in México. The geothermal field was first studied in 1958, and exploratory drilling was carried out in 1981. A geothermal plant has been operating at Los Humeros since June 1990. The plant has seven 5-MW backpressure units, the last of which went online in 1993. In 2001 the production was assessed at 42 MW. The wells range in depth from 1600 to 2225 m, and their temperatures reach 400°C, the highest recorded in México.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
The light-colored area just below the right-hand horizon is the floor of the 15 x 21 km Los Humeros caldera. It is seen here from the SE across the Serdán-Oriental basin from the flanks of Cofre de Perote volcano. Caldera formation during the mid-Pleistocene was followed during the late-Pleistocene or Holocene by extrusion of voluminous lava flows down the flanks of the volcano. These flows form the dark-colored band extending across the basin almost to the left-hand side of the photo. The peak in the left distance is Cerro Pizarro.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
A quarry wall on the lower NW flank of Cofre de Perote volcano exposes a cross-section through part of the Xáltipan Ignimbrite from Los Humeros volcano. The massive 230 cu km ignimbrite was erupted about 460,000 years ago and resulted in the formation of Los Humeros caldera. The voluminous ignimbrite covers a 3500 sq km area and extends at least 50 km to the coastal plain. The mostly non-welded rhyolitic ignimbrite is overlain by co-ignimbrite airfall tuffs and eight airfall lapilli tuffs.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
During the late-Pleistocene or Holocene, voluminous andesitic and basaltic-andesite lava flows erupted from scoria cones on the southern caldera rim and flowed long distances down the southern flank of the caldera. The age of the flows is not known precisely, but the roughly 6000-year-old archaeological site Cantona seen in this photo was constructed on top of the flows. A weather cloud on the horizon drifts from the summit of Cerro Pizarro, the northernmost lava dome of the Serdán-Oriental volcanic field.

Photo by Gerardo Carrasco-Núñez, 1995 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
A quarry along the road between Teocelo and Cosautlán de Carbajal SE of Cofre de Perote volcano exposes thick deposits of the 230 cu km Xáltipan Ignimbrite from Los Humeros volcano. This outcrop lies about 50 km SE of Los Humeros, beyond the Pico de Orizaba-Cofre de Perote range, much of which post-dates the 460,000-year-old rhyolitic ignimbrite. Eruption of the Xáltipan Ignimbrite, which covered an area of about 3500 sq km, resulted in the formation of a 15 x 21 km wide caldera.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2000 (Smithsonian Institution).
The broad ridge in the distance to the NW is Los Humeros, the easternmost of a series of large silicic volcanic centers with active geothermal systems located north of the axis of the Mexican Volcanic Belt. Eruption of the Xáltipan Ignimbrite about 460,000 years ago resulted in formation of the 15 x 21 km Los Humeros caldera. The most recent eruptions at Los Humeros produced extensive morphologically youthful, but undated basaltic lava flows. Hot springs and fumarolic activity continue at Los Humeros, which is a producing geothermal field.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2000 (Smithsonian Institution).
The summit of Cerro Pinto lava dome on the western side of the Serdán-Oriental basin provides an overview of the dry crater floor of Cerro Xalapaxco tuff cone in the foreground. Pyroclastic-surge deposits associated with Cerro Xalapaxco were deposited in a relatively dry eruptive environment. The sharp-topped peak at the far right is Cerro Pizarro, a lava dome at the northern end of the Serdán-Oriental. The flat ridge stretching across the horizon to the north is Los Humeros caldera.

Photo by Gerardo Carrasco-Núñez, 2002 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
The fresh-looking lava flows at the top of the image were erupted from Los Humeros caldera (just out of view to the north). The basaltic and andesitic lava flows extend up to about 15 km from the caldera rim. The flows have not been dated precisely, but are younger than 20,000 years and could in part be of Holocene age. The Tepeyahualco (left) and Limón (right) lava flows bracket circular 3100-m-high Cerro Pizarro lava dome (right center), the northernmost feature of the Serdán-Oriental volcanic field.

NASA Landsat satellite image, 1999 (courtesy of Loren Siebert, University of Akron).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

The following 25 samples associated with this volcano can be found in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections. Catalog number links will open a window with more information.

Catalog Number Sample Description
NMNH 117450-55 Obsidian
NMNH 117450-57 Obsidian
NMNH 117450-58 Obsidian
NMNH 117450-59 Obsidian
NMNH 117450-63 Obsidian
NMNH 117551-100 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-101 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-102 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-103 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-104 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-105 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-86 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-87 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-88 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-89 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-90 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-91 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-92 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-93 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-94 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-95 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-96 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-97 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-98 Unidentified
NMNH 117551-99 Unidentified

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Los Humeros 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.