Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 5 December-11 December 2001
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
5 December-11 December 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, 5 December-11 December 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 10 December at 1830 an increase in activity began at Popocatépetl. There were more ash emissions at the volcano than in comparison to the previous weeks. Several small-to-moderate emissions ejected incandescent fragments about 1 km around the volcano. The strongest activity occurred during 2000 to 2200. Following the increased activity only sporadic emissions occurred. The Washington VAAC reported that ash clouds rose less than 1 km above the volcano and drifted to the ENE.
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.