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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 24 April-30 April 2013


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
24 April-30 April 2013
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 24 April-30 April 2013. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (24 April-30 April 2013)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

CENAPRED reported that during 24-27 April seismicity at Popocatépetl indicated continuing gas-and-steam emissions that sometimes contained ash. Incandescence from the crater was often observed at night. Gas-and-steam plumes rose 1 km and drifted NE and ESE. On 24 April an explosion generated a steam-and-ash plume that rose 1.2 km above the crater and drifted W; incandescent tephra ejected from the crater landed 500 m away on the N flank. On 25 April a dense steam-and-gas plume rose 1.5 km and drifted W. The next day an explosion generated a gas-and-ash plume that rose 2 km. Atmospheric clouds made observations difficult. On 28 April gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.2 km and drifted NE, and on 29 April gas-and-ash plumes rose 1 km; cloud cover continued to impede observations. On 30 April an explosion generated an ash plume that rose 300 m and drifted E. Ejected incandescent tephra landed 800 m away on the NE flank. Gas-and-vapor plumes rose 500 m. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two.

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.

Source: Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED)