Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 1 June-7 June 2011
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 June-7 June 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 June-7 June 2011. 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 during 31 May-1 June steam-and-gas emissions from Popocatépetl occasionally contained small amounts of ash. At 0637 on 3 June an ash plume rose 3 km above the crater following seismic tremor. The lower-altitude portion of the plume drifted W (towards the state of Morelos) and the higher-altitude portion of the plume drifted ENE (over Puebla, 40 km E). Within a few hours ashfall was reported in the Morelos state, municipalities of Tetela del Volcán (20 km SW), Zacualpan (31 km SW), Jonacatepec (43 km SW), and Axochiapan (60 km SSW). At 2112 high-frequency, low-amplitude tremor was detected that was followed by an ash plume at 2116 that rose 1 km above the crater and drifted W. By 2130 activity had returned to normal levels. On 4 June an ash plume rose 1 km above the crater and drifted SSW at lower altitudes and NE at higher altitudes.
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.