Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 15 October-21 October 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
15 October-21 October 2014
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2014. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 October-21 October 2014. 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 an overflight of Popocatépetl on 14 October volcanologists observed that the diameter of the inner crater (formed in July 2013) had increased to 350 m. The bottom of the inner crater floor was 100 m below the floor of the main crater, cup-shaped, and covered with tephra. No sign of the 52nd lava dome, emplaced in early August 2014, was visible. Steam emissions originated from a crack in the N wall of the inner crater and ash emission came from the bottom of the crater. During 15-21 October seismicity indicated continuing emissions of water vapor, gas, and occasional small amounts of ash. Cloud cover sometimes prevented visual observations. Incandescence from the crater was observed most nights. Low-intensity explosions were detected on 17 and 19 October. The Alert Level remained at to 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.