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Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) — 14 February-20 February 2024


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 February-20 February 2024
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2024. Report on Popocatepetl (Mexico) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 February-20 February 2024. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (14 February-20 February 2024)



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 14-20 February. Long-period events totaling 9-330 per day were accompanied by steam-and-gas plumes that occasionally contained minor amounts of ash. The seismic network recorded from 9 to almost 24 hours of daily tremor, often characterized as high frequency and low amplitude. The Washington VAAC reported that daily ash plumes visible in webcam and/or satellite images rose to 5.8-6.1 km (19,000-20,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N, NE, SSE, and S. Based on information from El Centro Nacional de Comunicación y Operación de Protección Civil (CENACOM), CENAPRED noted that at 0830 on 14 February minor amounts of ashfall was reported in the municipalities of Nativitas (40 km NE), Santa Isabel (45 km ESE), Tetlatlahuaca (42 km NE), Tlaxcala (51 km NE), Santa Ana Chiautempan, and Zacatelco (45 km NE). Additionally, the Hermanos Serdán International Airport, located 30 km NE in the municipality of Huejotzingo, was closed during 0800-1300 so that ashfall could be cleared from the runway. Later that afternoon ashfall was reported in Puebla (43 km E). Minor ashfall was reported in the municipality of Hueyapan (17 km SSW) at 2025 on 19 February. 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.

Sources: Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)