Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 5 February-11 February 2020
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 February-11 February 2020
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2020. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 February-11 February 2020. 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 5-11 February there were 57-154 steam-and-gas emissions from Popocatépetl, some of which contained minor amounts of ash. An explosion at 1754 on 5 February produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater rim and drifted NNE. A minor explosion at 0029 on 9 February ejected incandescent material onto the flanks. An explosion at 0233 on 10 February produced an ash plume that rose 1 km and drifted NE, and ejected incandescent material as far as 500 m down the flanks. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two (middle level on a three-color scale).
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.