Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 22 January-28 January 2003
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 January-28 January 2003
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 January-28 January 2003. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Volcanic activity continued at low-to-moderate levels at Popocatépetl during 21-27 January. Activity consisted of small-to-moderate emissions of steam, gas, and small amounts of ash, and sporadic episodes of low-amplitude harmonic tremor. On 22 January at 0735 a significant increase in volcanic microsesimicity was recorded. According to the Washington VAAC, on the 25th an ash emission reached a height of ~10.7 km a.s.l. CENAPRED reported that the recorded seismic and volcanic activity were probably associated with the growth of a new lava dome inside the crater.
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.