Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 15 September-21 September 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
15 September-21 September 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 September-21 September 2021. 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 14-21 September there were 89-152 steam-and-gas emissions from Popocatépetl. The plumes drifted mainly NW and some contained ash. As many as five daily explosions were recorded during 14-19 September and some ejected incandescent material onto the flanks. Explosions at 1818, 1839, and 2350 on 14 September produced ash plumes that rose 1.2-1.5 km above the crater rim. Explosions at 1015 and 1441 on 15 September produced ash plumes that rose 1.8-2.2 km. During 15-17 September minor ashfall was reported in the municipalities of Cuernavaca, Valle de Chalco, Chiautla, Ixtapaluca, Nezahualcóyotl, La Paz, Ecatepec, Ayapango, Temamatla, Tenango del Aire, Tlalmanalco, Amecameca, Tepetlixpa, Tlalnepantla, and Acolman in the México State, and in Iztapalapa, Xochimilco, and Tlahuac in México City. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two (middle level on a three-color scale).
Geological Summary. 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.