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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 22 November-28 November 2000


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
22 November-28 November 2000
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2000. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 November-28 November 2000. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (22 November-28 November 2000)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Volcanic activity continued at a high rate at Popocatepetl, with several small-to-moderate exhalations and eruptions. Remote-sensing and aviation sources provided more details. The Mexico City MWO reported to the Washington VAAC that three exhalations at 0419, 0421, and 0500 on 21 November sent ash to 5-7 km a.s.l. A pilot report and information obtained from GOES-8 imagery revealed that an eruption at 1630 on 22 November produced an ash cloud that reached between 5.5 and 7.6 km a.s.l. Subsequent imagery through 1945 that day showed that there were two ash clouds from the eruption; one rose to ~5.8 km a.s.l., and the other rose to ~7.6 km a.s.l. On 27 November eruptions at 0330 and 1815 sent ash to 6-7 km a.s.l. A pilot report stated that a small eruption occurred sometime prior to 0700 on 28 November, sending ash to ~7 km a.s.l.

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.

Sources: Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)