Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 5 November-11 November 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 November-11 November 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, 5 November-11 November 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 a small series of explosions at Popocatépetl, starting at 2003 on 4 November and ending at 0130 on 5 November, produced a continuous plume of gas, steam, and small amounts of ash that rose 1 km and drifted N. The seismic network detected 191 explosions during the period. Incandescent material was periodically ejected onto the N and E flanks, as far as 800 m. Ashfall was reported in Paso de Cortes.
On 6 November a small rockslide on the SW flank was recorded by a webcam and the seismic network. Scientists aboard an overflight observed dome 53, emplaced during 4-5 November; it was an estimated 250 m in diameter and 30 m thick. During 7-11 November seismicity indicated continuing emissions of water vapor, gas, and occasional small amounts of ash. Incandescence from the crater was observed most nights. Explosions were detected during 10-11 November. The first explosion ejected incandescent tephra and generated an ash plume that rose 1.2 km and drifted SE. Others generated plumes that rose as high as 1.2 km and drifted SE and E. 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.