Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 29 April-5 May 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
29 April-5 May 2015
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 April-5 May 2015. 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 8-14 April the seismic network recorded 13-77 gas and steam emissions, with another 204 emissions recorded over 1-2 May. Ash accompanied the emissions during 1-3 May. Gas-and-steam plumes were visible, although cloud cover mostly prevented observations. Nighttime crater incandescence was often noted. A series of explosions during 2218-2301 on 30 April ejected incandescent tephra 200 m onto the NE flank. Sequences of explosions were also detected during 0758-1356 on 1 May and during 0411-0935 on 2 May. Ashfall was reported in San Pedro Benito Juárez (10-12 km SE) in the municipality of Atlixco Puebla on 2 May. Explosions were also detected during 3-5 May. 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.