Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 28 November-4 December 2007
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 28 November-4 December 2007
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2007. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 28 November-4 December 2007. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
CENEPRED reported that multiple gas-and-steam plumes from Popocatépetl were observed during 28 November-4 December. On 1 December, high frequency seismic tremor was accompanied by an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 7.4 km (24,300 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N, and then NE. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind. Based on observations of satellite imagery, reports from the Mexico City MWO, and the web camera operated by CENEPRED, the Washington VAAC reported that the ash plume rose to an altitude of 9.1 km (30,000 ft) a.s.l.
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.