Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 19 February-25 February 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 19 February-25 February 2014
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2014. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 19 February-25 February 2014. 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 at 0944 on 19 February a gas-and-vapor plume containing moderate amounts of ash rose 1.5 km above Popocatépetl's crater and drifted NE and SW. At 2338 a gas-and-vapor plume containing small amounts of ash rose 1 km and drifted E. A small explosion at 0409 on 21 February ejected incandescent tephra which mostly fell back inside the crater, and produced an ash plume that rose 2 km. An explosion at 1233 ejected incandescent tephra 600 m from the crater rim. An ash plume rose 4 km and drifted NE. Another explosion at 1541 produced an ash plume with lower ash content that rose 2 km and also drifted NE. At 0312 on 22 February an explosion generated an ash plume that rose 2 km and drifted SE. Explosions at 0615 and 0619 ejected incandescent tephra and produced ash plumes that rose 1 km and drifted SE. On 25 February steam-and-gas plumes drifting SE were occasionally seen during times of good visibility. 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.