Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 24 December-30 December 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 24 December-30 December 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, 24 December-30 December 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 24-30 December seismicity at Popocatépetl indicated continuing emissions of water vapor and gas, which occasionally contained ash during 27-30 December. Cloud cover sometimes prevented views of the crater. Incandescence from the crater was visible some nights. During 24-25 December there were 6-7 explosions detected by the network. An explosion on 26 December generated an ash plume that rose 3.5 km above the crater and drifted NE. Six explosions were detected on 27 December; those at 1258 and 2036 produced ash plumes that rose 0.8-1.5 km and drifted NE. An explosion at 2348 generated a plume with low ash content that rose 0.5 km and drifted S. An explosion on 29 December produced an ash plume that rose 2 km and drifted NE. On 30 December there were 10 explosions that all produced ash plumes that rose 1 km and drifted NE; one of the explosions generated an ash plume that rose 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.