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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 1 November-7 November 2000


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
1 November-7 November 2000
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2000. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 November-7 November 2000. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (1 November-7 November 2000)



19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The Washington VAAC, Mexico MWO, and CENAPRED reported that a series of small eruptions occurred during 1715-1806 on 1 November. GOES-8 imagery showed that ash rose to between 6 and 7 km a.s.l. and extended to the NNE. The series of eruptions lasted ~30 minutes and ash fall was reported in San Pedro Nexapa and Amecameca, which is ~20 km NW of the volcano. A Reuters article reported that on 4 November the increased level of volcanism caused Mexican authorities to carefully watch for signs of a strong eruption. CENAPRED increased the Alert Level at the volcano from Yellow phase two to Yellow phase three, which expanded the high-risk zone around the volcano from 7 to 10 km. At 2048 on 6 November an eruption sent an ash cloud to an altitude of 7.5-8.5 km a.s.l. It drifted towards the N and was followed by another eruption at 2130. Ash from both eruptions fell in the town of Santiago Xalitzinta. As of 7 November the Alert Level at the volcano remained at Yellow phase three.

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.

Sources: Reuters, Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)