Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 8 October-14 October 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 October-14 October 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, 8 October-14 October 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 7-13 October seismicity at Popocatépetl indicated continuing emissions of water vapor, gas, and occasional small amounts of ash. Incandescence from the crater was observed at night during 9-10 October. Cloud cover often prevented visual observations, although steam-and-gas plumes were observed daily. During 7-8 October ash plumes rose 1 km and drifted W. Ashfall was reported in Cuautla (43 km SW), Tetela del Volcán (20 km SW), Huaquechula (30 km SSW), and Morelos (60 km SW). On 9 October ash plumes rose 800 m and drifted NW. Gas-and-ash plumes on 10 October rose 1.4 km and drifted NW. On 12 October ash plumes rose 2 km and drifted NE. Ashfall was reported in Paso de Cortés (8 km NNW) and Tlalmanalco (30 km NW). 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.