Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 21 June-27 June 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 June-27 June 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert. Written by JoAnna G. Marlow.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) (Marlow, J G, and Sennert, S, eds.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 June-27 June 2023. 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 ongoing activity at Popocatépetl during 20-27 June included 14-66 daily steam-and-gas emissions, sometimes containing minor amounts of ash. Seismic activity was characterized as daily periods of high-frequency events and variable amplitude tremors, volcano-tectonic earthquakes (2235 and 2329 on 21 June, 1520 and 2134 on 26 June), 15 minutes of low-amplitude harmonic tremor during 21-22 June, and both minor and moderate explosions. Small bursts of incandescent ejecta from the crater were observed during the night of 20 June. Minor ashfall was reported in Cuernavaca (66 km W), state of Morelos, during 20-21 June. At 0312 on 22 June a moderate explosion ejected incandescent ballistic material as far as 1.5 km from the crater and generated an ash plume that rose 2 km above the crater. Minor amounts of fell in Hueyapan (16 km SSW), state of Morelos, during 21-22 June. Minor explosions at 0405 and 0745 on 23 June produced ash plumes that rose 500 m; the first explosion ejected incandescent material short distances from the crater. Ashfall was reported in the municipalities of Ozumba (19 km W), Tepetlixpa (21 km W), Juchitepec (29 km WNW), and Amecameca (19 km NW), all within the State of México. A minor explosion was recorded at 0809 on 27 June. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two (the middle level on a three-color scale) and the public was warned to stay 12 km away from the crater.
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.