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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — May 2006


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 31, no. 5 (May 2006)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Popocatepetl (Mexico) During first half of 2006, several ash plumes rose to ~ 7-8 km altitude

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 31:5. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200605-341090



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The last report on Popocatépetl covered February-December 2005 (BGVN 30:12). This report covers January-June 2006. Throughout this reporting interval, the warning level remained at Yellow. Seismicity is summarized on table 18.

Table 18. Recorded earthquakes near Popocatépetl during April-June 2006. Courtesy of CENAPRED.

Date Local Time Depth (km) Magnitude
04 Apr 2006 1426 5.4 2.2
05 Apr 2006 0416 5.4 2.3
05 Apr 2006 1557 8.0 2.4
06 Apr 2006 0921 1.0 2.3
07 Apr 2006 0339 6.3 1.9
12 Apr 2006 0457 5 2.8
18 Apr 2006 0101 6.4 2.6
27 Apr 2006 1024 4.3 2.2
25 May 2006 2019 4.9 2.3
29 May 2006 1548 5.6 2.1
30 May 2006 1224 7.7 2.2
31 May 2006 0238 9.3 2.4
31 May 2006 1253 4.2 2.0
02 Jun 2006 0502 5.4 2.2
08 Jun 2006 0637 4.7 3.0

On 6 January 2006, a small explosion occurred at Popocatépetl around 0042. According to the Washington VAAC, the resultant ash plume was visible on satellite imagery and its top reached ~ 5.8 km altitude, extending NE. Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED) reported that after the explosion overall activity decreased to previous levels. During 24-30 January, several emissions of gas, steam, and small amounts of ash occurred. A moderate explosion on 26 January at 0957 produced an ash plume that rose to ~ 8.4 km altitude and drifted NE.

Throughout the month of February, several small-to-moderate emissions of steam, gas, and ash occurred. On the 4th, an explosion produced a plume that rose to ~ 6.7 km altitude. Aerial photos taken on 10 February showed a 130-m-diameter lava dome at the bottom of the crater. At 0528 on 24 February an M 2.3 earthquake was detected and was located 0.5 km to the N of the crater at a depth of 4.1 km.

During April-June, the volcano issued several small emissions of steam, gas, and ash; reports also noted several small coincident earthquakes. At 1807 on 23 May, an ash emission was observed that reached a height of ~ 7.4 km altitude. The ash column was dispersed towards the SE and was followed by a high-frequency, low-amplitude tremor signal that lasted 90 minutes and then returned to previous low levels.

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: Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED), Av. Delfín Madrigal No.665. Coyoacan, México D.F. 04360, México (URL: https://www.gob.mx/cenapred/).