Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 15 May-21 May 2019
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 May-21 May 2019
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2019. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 May-21 May 2019. 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 each day during 15-21 May there were 22-72 steam-and-gas emissions from Popocatépetl, some of which contained ash (19-21 May). Two explosions, at 0817 and 0831 on 16 May, generated ash plumes that rose 1.6 and 1 km above the crater rim, respectively. During 20-21 May crater incandescence was visible during some emissions. The Alert Level had returned to Yellow, Phase Two (middle level on a three-color scale) on 7 May and remained there through 21 May.
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.