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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 22 November-28 November 2017


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
22 November-28 November 2017
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 November-28 November 2017. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (22 November-28 November 2017)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Each day during 22-28 November CENAPRED reported 188-725 emissions from Popocatépetl, and as many as five explosions. Two explosions on 23 November produced minor ashfall in the municipalities of Huaquechula (30 km SSW), Tepeojuma (39 km SE), Atlixco (23 km SE), and Izúcar de Matamoros (50 km SSE), in the state of Puebla. After one explosion (at 1413) there was a 90-minute period of emissions. After an explosion at 0512 on 24 November (the second of five recorded that day) a 108-minute-period of emissions was recorded. Minor amounts of ash fell in Atlixco. Almost two hours of continuous emissions of gas, steam, and ash began at 1711, producing a plume that rose as high as 4 km above the crater rim and drifted SSE. Ashfall was reported in San Pedro Benito Juárez (10-12 km SE) and Atlixco, in the state of Puebla. An explosion at 2252 ejected incandescent fragments as far as 1 km from the crater. An ash plume rose 2.5 km and drifted SSE. Two periods of emissions were recorded on 25 November, at 1110 (lasting 132 minutes) and 1929 (lasting 35 minutes). During an overflight that day observers noted that recent explosive activity had increased the dimensions of the internal crater (the crater on the main crater floor) to 370 m in diameter and 110 m deep. A 121-minute-long period of emissions began at 1529 on 27 November, with plumes rising at least 3 km and drifting SSE. 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)