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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 30 August-5 September 2023


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 30 August-5 September 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 30 August-5 September 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (30 August-5 September 2023)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

CENAPRED reported that eruptive activity continued at Popocatépetl during 29 August-4 September. Long-period events totaling 30-99 per day were accompanied by steam-and-gas plumes that sometimes contained minor amounts of ash. Periods of volcanic tremor (20-389 minutes) were recorded daily; low- to medium-amplitude, high-frequency tremor during 31 August-2 September was accompanied by continuous gas-and-steam emissions that contained minor amounts of ash, rose 1-2 km above the crater rim, and drifted WSW. A few volcano-tectonic earthquakes were recorded during 30 August-1 September. Minor and moderate explosions were recorded at 1848 on 30 August, at 0032, 1614, and 1702 on 31 August, at 1524 and 1755 on 1 September, at 0442, 0720, 2221 on 3 September, at 1745 on 4 September, and at 0758, 0859, and 1000 on 5 September. Ashfall was reported in Ozumba (18 km W), Atlautla (16 km W), Tepetlixpa (21 km W), and Ecatzingo (15 km SW) in the State of México and in Cuernavaca (65 km WSW), Temixco (67 km WSW), Huitzilac (67 km W), Tepoztlán (49 km W), and Jiutepec (59 km SW) in the State of Morelos on 1 and 5 September. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two (the middle level on a three-color scale) and the public was warned to stay 12 km away from the crater.

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)