Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 27 March-2 April 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 March-2 April 2013
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 March-2 April 2013. 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 26 March-1 April seismicity at Popocatépetl indicated continuing gas-and-steam emissions that contained ash. Although views of the volcano were often obscured by cloud cover, gas-and-ash plumes were observed daily. Incandescence from the crater was observed at night and sometimes increased in conjunction with emissions. On 26 March incandescent fragments ejected as far as 1 km from the crater landed on the NNE flanks. An explosion produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater. On 29 March incandescent fragments ejected 700 m from the crater landed on the N and NE flanks. On 31 March ash emissions were observed continuously for about an hour. Ash plumes rose over 2 km and drifted E. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two.
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.