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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — July 2000


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 25, no. 7 (July 2000)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Popocatepetl (Mexico) Ash plumes, minor ashfalls, and mudflows during 15 June-22 August

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2000. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 25:7. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200007-341090



19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

This report covers the period form 15 June to 22 August 2000. The highest ash column in this period rose to over 5 km above the summit.

Throughout most of the reporting period, activity remained stable with periodic exhalations of small amplitude and duration. However, two small mudflows were reported: one on 23 June and the other on 24 June. According to CENAPRED, the mudflow on 24 June did not reach any human settlements. No information was available concerning the 23 June mudflow.

On 3 July, two small exhalations generated ash clouds that reached 1 and 2.5 km above the summit and ash fell over the volcano's SW sector. On 4 July, ash from a small exhalation fell in Tetela, a town ~15 km SW of the crater. On 14 July, the volcano erupted and produced an ash cloud that reached 1.6 km in height. According to the Associated Press (AP), the ash from this eruption was blown N and did not significantly impact any populated regions surrounding the volcano.

On 4 August, two closely spaced explosive eruptions occurred. The first at 1251, a moderately large exhalation, lasted 2 minutes. The second one occurred at 1255 and lasted 1.5 minutes. The resulting ash cloud rose to greater than 5 km above the volcano. Ash reportedly fell in nearby communities (Atlautla, San Juan Tehuixtitlan, San Pedro Nexapa, Amecameca, and Tenango).

At 0910 on 10 August, Popocatépetl erupted again. Ash reached to 3.5 km above the volcano. The ash clouds traveled to the W. A second eruption was visible in GOES 8 imagery. It was expected that nearby Mexican states would be coated with a thin layer of ash. At 19:15 on 23 August, a moderate exhalation produced ashfall in the nearby communities of San Pedro Nexapa and Amecameca (~12 km NW and ~16 km NW of the summit, respectively). Throughout the rest of the reporting period there were exhalations of low intensity and short duration that mainly involved gas with small amounts of ash.

Several volcano-tectonic earthquakes, ranging in magnitude from 1.7 to 2.3, occurred during the month of July. The first of these was on 2 July. It was followed by earthquakes on 6, 8, 9, 11, 15, and 23 of July. Three volcano-tectonic earthquakes occurred on 20 July, all under M 2.5. On 1 August, three more tectonic earthquakes were recorded, M 1.9 - 2.7. Other earthquakes occurred on 5 and 10 August; both were less than M 2.

Popocatépetl's volcanic hazard level remained at yellow. CENAPRED recommended that all visitors remain 7 km or more from the crater.

Geological Summary. 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.

Information Contacts: The National Center of the Prevention of Disasters (CENAPRED) (URL: https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/); Discovery.com (URL: http://www.discovery.com); Washington VAAC (URL: http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/atmosphere/vaac/); Volcano World (URL: http://volcano.oregonstate.edu).