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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 26 May-1 June 2004

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 26 May-1 June 2004
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2004. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 26 May-1 June 2004. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (26 May-1 June 2004)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

On 26 May at 0643 a small emission from Popocatépetl of steam, gas, and small amounts of ash produced a plume that reached a height of ~1.5 km above the volcano's crater. Ash fell in Tetela del Volcán, Morelos. Also, an M 2.4 volcano-tectonic microearthquake occurred 2 km E of the crater. Aerial photography taken on 14 April showed continued subsidence of the inner crater. No external lava dome at the bottom of the crater was distinguished. The Alert Level at Popocatépetl remained at Yellow Phase 1, therefore access was restricted in a 12-km-radius around the volcano.

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.

Sources: Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), Agence France-Presse (AFP)