Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 24 October-30 October 2001
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
24 October-30 October 2001
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2001. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 24 October-30 October 2001. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 25 October at approximately 0600 a steam column was observed rising 1-2.5 km above Popocatépetl's crater, drifting to the NW. Ground observations confirmed that the column did not include ash. The MWO reported to the Washington VAAC that another eruption column the same day at 1040 rose to ~6.7 km. A narrow plume of ash from the eruption was visible extending to the N on satellite imagery. The volcano remained at Alert Level Yellow Phase II.
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.