Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 22 July-28 July 2020
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 July-28 July 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, 22 July-28 July 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 22-27 July there were 2-107 steam-and-gas emissions from Popocatépetl, some of which contained minor amounts of ash. Crater incandescence was visible most nights. Gas, steam, and ash plumes rose as high as 2 km above the crater rim and drifted NW, WSW, and SW. Minor ashfall was reported on 23 and 27 July in areas downwind, including in Tetela del Volcán (20 km SW), Ocuituco (24 km SW), Atlatlahucán (30 km WSW), Yecapixtla (20 km W), Yautepec (50 km WSW), and Jiutepec (60 km WSW), in the state of Morelos, as well as in Tlalmanalco (30 km NW), Juchitepec, Tepetlixpa (20 km W), Atlautla (17 km W), Ozumba (18 km W), and Ecatzingo (15 km SW), in the state of Mexico. Incandescent material was ejected a short distance from the crater on 25 July and was followed by minor ashfall in Ecatzingo, Atlautla, Tepetlixpa, and Juchitepec. Incandescent material was again ejected a short distance from the crater during 26-27 July. Explosions were recorded at 1135 on 27 July and 0511 on 28 July. Minor ashfall was reported in the municipalities of Tlalmanalco (30 km NW), Ayapango (22 km NW), Temamatla (32 km NW), Ecatepec, Valle de Chalco (44 km NW), Texcoco (60 km NNW), Tezoyuca (68 km NNW), Tepetlaoxtoc, Naucalpan (80 km NW), Atizapán (90 km NW), Huixquilucan (85 km NW), Nicolás Romero (95 km NW), and Tlalnepantla (80 km NW) in the state of México. 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.