Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 5 June-11 June 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 June-11 June 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, 5 June-11 June 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 5-11 June seismicity at Popocatépetl indicated continuing gas-and-steam emissions that sometimes contained small amounts of ash; cloud cover often prevented visual confirmation. Incandescence from the crater was observed some nights; during 8-9 June incandescence increased with accompanying emissions. On most days steam-and-gas plumes were observed drifting SW and SSW. On 7 June the Alert Level was lowered to Yellow, Phase Two. An explosion on 8 June generated an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater and drifted SW. On 9 June ash plumes rose 0.6-2.5 km and drifted SE and E.
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.