Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 26 February-4 March 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 26 February-4 March 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, 26 February-4 March 2014. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 26 February CENAPRED reported that, with support from the Navy, scientists aboard an overflight of Popocatépetl observed that lava dome 48 had been destroyed, leaving a funnel-shaped cavity about 80 m deep. A new dome 20-30 m wide was at the bottom of the cavity. On 27 February activity decreased considerably. During 27 February-3 March gas-and-steam plumes were observed drifting E, ESE, W, and NE. On 2 March an ash plume rose more than 2 km above the crater and drifted NE. On 4 March at 0552 an explosion ejected incandescent tephra 700 m onto the NE flank and produced an ash plume that rose 1.2 km. 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.