Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 1 September-7 September 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
1 September-7 September 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 September-7 September 2021. 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 each day during 31 August-7 September there were 66-102 steam-and-gas emissions from Popocatépetl. Cloudy weather often prevented views of the volcano. Crater incandescence was visible during the morning of 1 September and explosions were recorded at 2135, 2254, and 2345 later that same day. The Washington VAAC noted that ash plumes rose to 5.8-6.1 km (19,000-20,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW and W during 5-6 September based on satellite and webcam views. Explosions were recorded by CENAPRED at 1642 on 5 September and 0820 on 6 September. Emissions had a low ash content during 6-7 September; explosions occurred at 0212 and 0414 on 7 September. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two (middle level on a three-color scale).
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.