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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 7 September-13 September 2016


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
7 September-13 September 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, 7 September-13 September 2016. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (7 September-13 September 2016)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During an overflight of Popocatépetl on 30 August CENAPRED scientists confirmed that explosions during 27-28 August had destroyed lava dome 69 (first identified on 1 August). The crater which had hosted the dome was 300 m in diameter and 30 m deep.

Each day during 7-13 September there were 35-133 emissions, some of which contained minor amounts of ash on 8 September. Cloud cover sometimes prevented observations, though gas-and-steam plumes were visible daily. Crater incandescence was visible at night and sometimes was more intense in conjunction with emissions. An explosion at 1450 on 8 September produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater. On 11 September an explosion at 0925 generated a plume that rose 1 km, and an explosion at 2323 ejected incandescent material onto the flanks. 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.

Source: Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED)