Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 3 February-9 February 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 3 February-9 February 2016
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 3 February-9 February 2016. 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 2-9 February the seismic network at Popocatépetl recorded 17-83 daily emissions consisting of water vapor, gas, and ash, and as many as nine explosions per day. Ash plumes during 6-7 February rose 700-800 m above the crater and drifted E. Crater incandescence was noted most nights and increased in intensity with some emissions. Explosions at 1630 and 1709 on 8 February generated ash plumes that rose 1 km and drifted ENE. 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.