Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 8 March-14 March 2017
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 March-14 March 2017
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 March-14 March 2017. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Each day during 8-14 March CENAPRED reported 87-200 steam and gas emissions from Popocatépetl, and crater incandescence on most nights. Weather clouds often prevented visual observations. Explosions were detected during 8-11 March: at 0809 on 8 March, at 1847 on 9 March, at 0539 on 10 March, and at 0435 on 11 March. Two additional explosions on 11 March, at 1347 and 1842, generated ash plumes that rose less than 2 km above the crater rim 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.