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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 13 April-19 April 2016


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
13 April-19 April 2016
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 April-19 April 2016. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (13 April-19 April 2016)



19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5393 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During 13-17 April CENAPRED reported 10-105 emissions from Popocatépetl and as many as two explosions detected daily; some emissions corresponded with increased crater incandescence. Activity increased at 0232 on 18 April. Strombolian activity ejected incandescent fragments 1.6 km onto the NE flank, and ash plumes rose 3 km above the crater and drifted ENE. Ashfall was reported in San Pedro Benito Juárez, San Nicolás de los Ranchos, Tianguismanalco, San Martín Texmelucan, and Huejotzingo. Activity decreased over the next few hours; ash plumes rose 1 km and drifted ENE. According to a news article, the airport in Puebla closed due to the ash plumes. During 18-19 April CENAPRED noted 103 emissions an intense crater incandescence. 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.

Sources: Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), ABC News - American Broadcasting Corporation