Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 6 March-12 March 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
6 March-12 March 2013
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 March-12 March 2013. 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 during 5-12 March seismicity at Popocatépetl indicated continuing gas-and-steam emissions that contained ash on most days. On 7 March seismicity increased, and incandescent tephra was ejected up to 1 km above the crater and fell on the NE flanks. An eruption plume rose 1.5 km above the crater; ashfall was reported in Puebla (50 km to the E). Activity decreased later that day. On 10 March incandescent tephra was ejected 100 m above the crater and again fell on the NE flanks, 400 m away from the crater. The next day incandescent tephra ejected from the crater fell back into the crater. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two.
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.