Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 25 April-1 May 2001
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 April-1 May 2001
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2001. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 April-1 May 2001. 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 at 0819 on 29 April a moderate explosion occurred at Popocatépetl that lasted for 1 minute and produced an ash cloud that rose 2 km above the volcano's summit and drifted to the ENE. A pilot reported that the ash cloud reached an altitude of 9 km a.s.l. Light ash fall was reported in San Pedro Benito Juárez ~10 km SE of the volcano's summit. Throughout the day several episodes of harmonic tremor occurred. Based on information from the Mexico City MWO, the Washington VAAC reported that another eruption occurred later the same day at 1310. It produced an ash cloud that rose 6.7-7.6 km a.s.l. The volcano remained at Alert Level Yellow Phase III, with a restricted 12-km-radius area.
Geologic Background. 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.