Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 31 May-6 June 2017
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 31 May-6 June 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, 31 May-6 June 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 31 May-2 June CENAPRED reported 51-78 steam and gas emissions from Popocatépetl; the daily count increased to 144-276 during 2-5 June. Explosions were detected during 31 May-1 June (1-2 per day) and during 2-5 June (13-22 per day) though cloudy conditions prevented visual confirmation of ash, gas, and steam plumes. Observers noted material being ejected 200 m from the crater on 3 June. Crater incandescence was visible on some nights. 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.