Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 30 September-6 October 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 30 September-6 October 2015
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 30 September-6 October 2015. 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 30 September-6 October the seismic network at Popocatépetl recorded 23-142 daily emissions consisting of water vapor, gas, and sometimes ash; cloud cover often prevented visual observations. Variable nighttime or morning crater incandescence was observed most days, and 1-7 daily explosions were registered. On 3 October a gas, steam, and ash plume rose 2 km and drifted NW. During a series of explosions on 6 October, material was ejected onto the N flank, not far from the crater. Gas, steam, and ash plumes drifted NE. 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.