Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 21 December-27 December 2011
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 December-27 December 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 December-27 December 2011. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
CENAPRED reported that during 21-27 December steam-and-gas emissions rose from Popocatépetl; the plumes contained small amounts of ash during 22-24 December. On 21 December a bluish gas plume was observed and during 22-23 December ash plumes rose 0.9-1 km above the crater. Crater incandescence was observed at night during 26-27 December.
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.