Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 9 August-15 August 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 August-15 August 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 August-15 August 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 eruptive activity continued at Popocatépetl during 8-15 August. Long-period events totaling 19-185 per day were accompanied by steam-and-gas plumes that sometimes contained minor amounts of ash. Seismic activity also included volcanic tremors (3-15 minutes daily), a few minor explosions, and two volcano-tectonic earthquakes on 9 and 15 August. A minor explosion at 0305 on 11 August was accompanied by crater incandescence. Another explosion at 0618 on 13 August produced an ash, steam, and gas plume that rose above the summit, and at 0736 an explosion produced a puff of ash, steam, and gas. 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.