Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 11 November-17 November 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 November-17 November 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, 11 November-17 November 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 11-17 November the seismic network at Popocatépetl recorded 30-62 daily emissions; 102 and 88 were detected on 14 and 16 November, respectively. Variable nighttime crater incandescence was observed on some days. The seismic and acoustic network registered explosions almost daily. Ash plumes rose from the crater on 12 November; ash plumes rose 2 km on 17 November and incandescent material was deposited on the flanks within 1 km of the crater. Daily gas plumes drifted SW and NW. 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.