Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 20 August-26 August 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 August-26 August 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, 20 August-26 August 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 during 20-26 August steam-and-gas emissions with minor ash rose 100-800 m above Popocatépetl’s crater and drifted NW and W. On 25-26 August the emissions had a low intensity explosive component. On most nights incandescence was observed, increasing with larger emissions. On 23 August slight amounts of ash were reported northwest of the volcano in the communities of Amecameca, Ozumba, and Tlalmanalco. On most days there was only partial visibility due to cloud cover, and on 25-26 August heavy cloud cover was reported. On 24 August the Washington VAAC reported emissions but ash was not detected by satellite. The Alert Level remained at to 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.