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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 27 September-3 October 2017


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
27 September-3 October 2017
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 September-3 October 2017. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (27 September-3 October 2017)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Each day during 26 September-3 October CENAPRED reported 21-61 emissions from Popocatépetl and 2-6 volcano-tectonic earthquakes. Cloud cover often prevented visual observations. Periods of harmonic tremor and as many as 10 explosions per day were detected during 26-30 September. Beginning at 0315 on 27 September an episode of Strombolian activity that lasted for six hours and sixteen minutes ejected incandescent tephra as far as 1 km onto the flanks. Ash plumes rose 1.5 km above the crater rim and drifted W. Ash fell in the towns of Ecatzingo and Atlautla in Estado de México, and in Atlatlahuacán, Ocuituco, Oaxtepec, Jiutepec, and Yautepec in Estado de Morelos. An explosion at 2257 on 30 September ejected incandescent tephra no more than 800 m onto the flanks, and produced an ash plume that rose 2 km. An explosion was detected at 1417 on 3 October. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two. CENAPRED stated that there was no significant increase in activity at Popocatépetl related to the M 7.1 earthquake, centered beneath Puebla (45 km E), that occurred at 1314 on 19 September.

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)