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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 8 November-14 November 2000


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
8 November-14 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, 8 November-14 November 2000. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (8 November-14 November 2000)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During the week volcanic activity was high at Popocatepetl, with several exhalations and eruptions. CENAPRED reported that exhalations at 1456 and 1541 on 7 November sent ash clouds to 2 and 4.5 km above the volcano, respectively. The Mexico City MWO reported to the Washington VAAC that an ash-and-steam exhalation at 1150 on 9 November sent ash to ~9.5 km a.s.l. According to a Reuters article, CENAPRED stated that light ashfall occurred in Santiago Xalitzintla, the closest village to the crater. The Washington VAAC reported that on 11 November eruptions at 0739, 0818, 0845, and 1418 sent ash to a maximum altitude of ~9.5 km a.s.l. The volcano's Alert Level remained at Yellow Phase III.

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