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Chichinautzin

Photo of this volcano
  • Mexico
  • México and Central America
  • Volcanic field
  • 400 CE
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 19.08°N
  • 99.13°W

  • 3930 m
    12894 ft

  • 341080
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Chichinautzin.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Chichinautzin.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Chichinautzin.

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.

Eruptive History

There is data available for 8 Holocene eruptive periods.

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
0400 ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed 3 Radiocarbon (corrected) Xitle
0200 ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed 3 Radiocarbon (corrected) Chichinautzin
2238 BCE ± 1413 years Unknown Confirmed 3 Radiocarbon (corrected) Guespalapa
4250 BCE ± 75 years Unknown Confirmed 3 Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Tláloc
5840 BCE ± 500 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Cuauhtzin
7340 BCE ± 1050 years Unknown Confirmed 0 Radiocarbon (corrected) Cerro Tetepetl, Tenango lava flow
7370 BCE ± 300 years Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (corrected) Tres Cruces
7930 BCE ± 500 years Unknown Confirmed 3 Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Volcán Pelado
Deformation History

There is no Deformation History data available for Chichinautzin.

Emission History

There is no Emissions History data available for Chichinautzin.

Photo Gallery

Mexico City encroaches onto the Chichinautzin volcanic field, which covers a broad 1,000 km2 area immediately south of the city. Many of the more than 150 small cones in the volcanic field are of Holocene age. Among the larger features of the field seen in this aerial view from the NW are Volcán Ajusco (the brown-colored peak in the center below the skyline) along with Cerro Pelado, Cerro Chichinautzin, and Cerro Tláloc to the left. In addition to the Xitle eruption less than 2,000 years ago, an eruption of Cerro Chichinautzin was witnessed by local inhabitants.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
Ajusco volcano rises above Mexico City to the south. The Chichinautzin volcanic field covers a broad, 1,000 km2 area with more than 150 small cones of mostly Holocene age. One of the youngest eruptions occurred from the Xitle cone about 1,670 years ago, producing a massive 3.2 km3 lava flow that covered prehistorical urban centers and agricultural land. It is now overlain by the southern part of Mexico City.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
Young scoria cones of the Chichinautzin volcanic field appear on the skyline above Mexico City. Many of the more than 150 small cones within the volcanic field are of Holocene age. At least two of the cones erupted less than 2,000 years ago, producing lava flows that impacted inhabited areas.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
The Xitle scoria cone, the large flat-topped cone on the center horizon, is one of the youngest features of the Chichinautzin volcanic field. Xitle erupted about 1,670 years ago. Initial ash emission was followed by extrusion of a lava flow that traveled 13 km N and covered the prehistoric Cuicuilco urban centers and nearby agricultural lands. Portions of Mexico City, including the National University (UNAM), were built on this lava flow. The Ajusco lava-dome complex appears to the upper right.

Photo by Gerardo Carrasco-Núñez, 1997 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
The SE part of the Chichinautzin volcanic field, seen here from the east on the flanks of the Sierra Nevada, forms a major topographic barrier at the southern end of the Valley of Mexico. Several small shield volcanoes, including Volcán Tláloc, appear on the horizon. The shield volcanoes have smaller cones on their flanks, some of which were also constructed on the floor of the Valley of Mexico.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
The irregular reddish area in the center of this false-color LANDSAT image is the Tenango lava flow. It was erupted about 8500 years ago from an E-W-trending fracture that also passes through Nevado de Toluca volcano, whose flanks appear at the left. The basaltic-andesite Tenango flow forms a prominent isolated mesa on which the fortified city of Teotenango with its many pyramids and courts was built by the Matlatzinca people about 1000 BCE. The Tenango flow lies at the far western end of the Chichinautzin volcanic field of central México.

NASA Landsat image by Michael Abrams, 1996 (courtesy of José Macías, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Cones of the Chichinautzin volcanic field in the foreground and middle distance are seen here looking to the west from Popocatépetl volcano. The large flat-topped volcano on the far horizon is Nevado de Toluca. The broad Chichinautzin volcanic field covers a 90-km-wide area south of the Valley of Mexico between the base of the Sierra Nevada (containing Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl) and the eastern flank of Nevado de Toluca.

Photo by José Macías, 1998 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
A wide-angle view of the Chichinautzin volcanic field from the flanks of Popocatépetl shows some of the abundant pyroclastic cones and low shield volcanoes that form the mostly monogenetic field. The massive Chichinautzin volcanic field covers more than 1,000 km2 and stretches 90 km in an E-W direction from the eastern base of Nevado de Toluca volcano (the light-colored peak on the far horizon) to the western flanks of Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl.

Photo by José Macías, 1998 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Five small scoria cones are aligned NE-SW near the town of Amecameca at the far eastern end of the Chichinautzin volcanic field. The large cone to the lower left is Cerro Chinconquiat, the larger of the two cones at the mid-right is Cerro Tapeixte, and the smaller one at the far right is Cerro la Joya. The cone with radian erosion gullies to the left immediately above Cerro Chinconquiat is Cerro Tenayo.

Photo by José Macías, 1996 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
The small Xitle scoria cone in the center of the photo is directly below Volcán Ajusco, the large lava-dome complex on the horizon, and was the source of a voluminous lava flow about 1,670 years ago. The 3.2 km3 flow traveled 13 km north and underlies much of the forested area in the middle of the photo as well as the southern part of Mexico City in the foreground. The flow covered the Preclassic city of Cuicuilco, one of the oldest archaeological sites in central México, and underlies the campus of the National University of México (UNAM).

Photo by José Macías, 1996 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
A symmetrical cone is located on Volcán Pelado, a small shield volcano about 10 km south of Xitle volcano. Pyroclastic flows accompanied the formation of the cone. Pelado and the Xitle cone, which erupted about 1,670 years ago, are among the many Holocene vents of the Chichinautzin volcanic field. Both eruptions affected nearby settlements.

Photo by Paul Wallace, 1991 (University of California Berkeley).
The vegetated lava flows in the middle of the photo traveled short distances to the south from Xitle flank vents, the scoria cone in the background. Most lava flows followed the topographic gradient to the north. Scoria-fall deposits from the 150-m-high pyroclastic cone mantle the foreground and overlie parts of the lava flows.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
Xitle scoria cone, seen here from the SE, is one of the youngest features of the Chichinautzin volcanic field. The west-flank Xicontle cone, with a 150-m-wide crater, forms the flat ridge to the left. The eruption began about 1,600 years ago producing ashfall that underlies early lava flows. Five flank vents, at Xicontle and on other sides of the Xitle cone, produced voluminous lava flows that surrounded the scoria cone and traveled up to 13 km N, covering 80 km2.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
The campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), the National University of México, overlies a 1,600-year-old lava flow from the Xitle scoria cone in the Chichinautzin volcanic field. Basaltic lava from Xitle is exposed in the foreground between buildings of the departments of geology and geophysics. Volcanologists and seismologists from the university conduct research on Mexican volcanoes and are involved in monitoring of ongoing activity.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
The Cuicuilco pyramid in the southern part of Mexico City was surrounded by lava flows from Xitle volcano about 1,600 years ago. The basaltic flows underlie the area to the right and are exposed in the trench walls around the pyramid. The Preclassic Cuicuilco site is one of the oldest archaeological areas in central México. The earliest occupations date back to 2,100-1,800 BCE, and the pyramid was constructed about 80-600 BCE, when Cuicuilco had become an important Pre-Hispanic city.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
Vegetation has been cleared from the surface of a massive lava flow from Xitle volcano to form a park on the campus of the National University of México (UNAM). Pahoehoe textures of the roughly 1,600-year-old basaltic lava flow are exposed in the park. The tube-fed flow traveled 13 km from Xitle, a small scoria cone whose summit forms the flat area on the horizon to the left of Volcán Ajusco, the large lava dome complex on the horizon.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
Volcán Pelado is a small shield volcano in the eastern part of the Chichinautzin field with a cone at the summit. Formation of the volcano, between about 10,500 and 9,260 years ago, was accompanied by pyroclastic flows that entrained pottery fragments from nearby settlements. Volcán Pelado lies 10 km south of Xitle, another scoria cone of the Chichinautzin volcanic field that erupted less than 2,000 years ago.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
The cone of Volcán Pelado is located SE of Ajusco volcano. The eruption of the cone, seen here from the SE, produced pyroclastic flows that traveled to the north, east, and south. Lava flows that erupted from E-W-trending fissures cover an area of about 63 km2. Pottery shards have been found within the deposits, indicating that the eruption affected neighboring settlements.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
The Chichinautzin volcanic field covers an area of more than 1,000 km2 in a 90-km-wide, E-W-trending area south of the Valley of Mexico. This view looks SE from the 1,600-year-old Xitle scoria cone to Volcán Yololica (the forested scoria cone to left of the center), with Volcán Cuauhtzin on the horizon (right-center) and Volcán Tlaloc to its left. The name Chichinautzin means Burning Lord in the Nahuatl language, and several eruptions have impacted Pre-Hispanic cultures in the Valley of Mexico.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
Volcán Popocatépetl rises to the SE beyond the Sierra Chichinautzin, as seen from the summit of Xitle volcano, one of the youngest cones of the Chichinautzin volcanic field. The scoria cone near the center is Volcán Yololica. More than 150 small cones formed across the Chichinautzin range; many of these are of Holocene age.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
Several volcanoes of the Chichinautzin volcanic field can be seen in this aerial photo from the NE. To the lower left is Volcán Teuhtli with a small cone on its summit to the far left. The lava flow with steep flow boundaries in the center of the photo descending diagonally to the right is the massive Xicomulco lava flow. Volcán Cuauhtzin, in the background to the right, emplaced widespread lava flows.

Photo by Gerardo Carrasco-Núñez, 1997 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
The large, steep-sided Xicomulco lava flow descends from the flanks of the Sierra Chichinautzin into the Valley of Mexico. The viscous lava flow averages 75 m in thickness, displays prominent flow levees, and traveled 4.5 km north. The flow was extruded with very little explosive activity and the vent was subsequently filled in and is now overlain by the town of San Bartolo Xicomulco (right-center). In the background is the town of San Pablo Oztotepec. Volcán Tlaloc is the broad volcano in the center of the horizon.

Photo by Gerardo Carrasco-Núñez, 1997 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Pillow lavas from Xitle are exposed near the Cuicuilco Ceremonial Center, Mexico City. It is thought that the basaltic lava flows entered into a pond, causing the formation of pillow structures. The possibility that these flow textures indirectly represent "man-made" pillows (entering an artificial pond) has been considered.

Photo by Hugo Delgado, 1997 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Xitle scoria cone, seen here in an aerial view from the NE with Ajusco volcano in the background, is one of the youngest cones of the Chichinautzin volcanic field. It is about 100 m high, with a crater that is 350 m wide and 115 m deep, and it formed around 2,000 years ago. Xitle (also known as Xicti) means “belly button” in the Nahuatl language, a reference to the shape of the cone and its crater. Volcán Ajusco is a Pliocene-Pleistocene lava dome complex surrounded by block-and-ash flow deposits.

Photo by Hugo Delgado, 1995 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Volcán Tláloc, the broad volcano on the horizon, is one of the larger volcanic centers of the eastern part of the Chichinautzin volcanic field. It erupted about 6,200 years ago and is seen here from the east with a large lava flow in the foreground.

Photo by Hugo Delgado, 1994 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Xico is a low circular tuff ring within Mexico City that is part of the Chichinautzin volcanic field, seen here from the S. This volcano was formed by phreatomagmatic eruptions through the middle of Lake Chalco, the remains of which can be seen surrounding the tuff ring. Chalco and Lakes Texcoco and Xochimilco were formed when lava flows blocked river drainages to the S.

Photo by Hugo Delgado, 1994 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Monogenetic cones of the Chichinautzin volcanic field are seen here below the western flanks of Iztaccíhuatl. These cones, including Cerro Tenayo to the lower left, lie at the easternmost extension of the 90-km-wide Chichinautzin volcanic field, south of the Valley of Mexico. The compound Iztaccíhuatl volcano is mostly Pleistocene in age.

Photo by Hugo Delgado, 1994 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Volcán Ajusco, the highest peak of the Chichinautzin volcanic field, is seen here from the summit of the Xitle scoria cone to the NE. The Pliocene-Pleistocene Ajusco consists of lava domes surrounded by block-and-ash flows. During the Pleistocene the NE flank collapsed, producing a debris avalanche that traveled 16 km. Late-stage eruptions produced more mafic lava flows from flank vents, marking a transition to the monogenetic volcanism of the Chichinautzin volcanic field.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
The darker forested area in the center of this photo, extending from the middle right almost across the broad valley floor, is the Texcal lava flow. This lava flow traveled 24 km S onto the Cuernavaca plain after being erupted about 4,200 years ago from the Guespalapa scoria cone. Unlike the Pelado or Chichinautzin eruptions, the Guespalapa eruption did not produce a small shield, but rather one of the longest lava flows of the Sierra Chichinautzin.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2004 (Smithsonian Institution).
The Cuautzin lava dome (right horizon) north of the crest of the Sierra Chichinautzin, with cnow-capped Iztaccihuatl volcano on the left horizon. It formed between about 7,360 and 8,225 radiocarbon years ago, producing lava flows and block-and-ash flow deposits around the dome. Cuautzin means "Seat of the Eagle" in the Nahuatl language.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2004 (Smithsonian Institution).
The broad forested ridge in the center of this photo is the Tenango lava flow, which was erupted about 8,500 radiocarbon years ago from an E-W-trending fissure at the western margin of the Chichinautzin volcanic field. It forms a prominent isolated mesa on which the fortified city of Teotenango with its many pyramids and courts was built by the Matlatzinca people about 1000 BCE.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2004 (Smithsonian Institution).
GVP Map Holdings

The maps shown below have been scanned from the GVP map archives and include the volcano on this page. Clicking on the small images will load the full 300 dpi map. Very small-scale maps (such as world maps) are not included. The maps database originated over 30 years ago, but was only recently updated and connected to our main database. We welcome users to tell us if they see incorrect information or other problems with the maps; please use the Contact GVP link at the bottom of the page to send us email.


Title: Carta Geolica de la Republica Mexicana
Publisher: Recursos Minerales and Institute de Gelogia
Country: Mexico
Year: 1992
Map Type: Geology
Scale: 1:2,000,000
Map of Carta Geolica de la Republica Mexicana

Title: Mexico
Publisher: DMA Aerospace Center
Country: Mexico
Year: 1985
Series: ONC
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:1,000,000
Map of Mexico

Title: Amecameca
Publisher: INEGI
Country: Mexico
Year: 1985
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:50,000
Map of Amecameca

Title: Milpa Alta
Publisher: SPP CGSNI
Country: Mexico
Year: 1984
Map Type: Geology
Scale: 1:50,000
Map of Milpa Alta

Title: Ciudad de Mexico
Publisher: SPP & INEGI
Country: Mexico
Year: 1984
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:250,000
Map of Ciudad de Mexico

Title: Estado de Oaxaca
Publisher: USGS /SAHOP
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Series: SAHOP Landsat
Map Type: Satellite
Scale: 1:1,000,000
Map of Estado de Oaxaca

Title: Estado de Guanajuato
Publisher: USGS /SAHOP
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Series: SAHOP Landsat
Map Type: Satellite
Scale: 1:500,000
Map of Estado de Guanajuato

Title: Estado de Puebla
Publisher: USGS /SAHOP
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Series: SAHOP Landsat
Map Type: Satellite
Scale: 1:500,000
Map of Estado de Puebla

Title: Estado de Guerrero
Publisher: USGS /SAHOP
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Series: SAHOP Landsat
Map Type: Satellite
Scale: 1:500,000
Map of Estado de Guerrero

Title: Estado de Mexico
Publisher: USGS /SAHOP
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Series: SAHOP Landsat
Map Type: Satellite
Scale: 1:250,000
Map of Estado de Mexico

Title: Estado de Tlaxcala
Publisher: USGS /SAHOP
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Series: SAHOP Landsat
Map Type: Satellite
Scale: 1:250,000
Map of Estado de Tlaxcala

Title: Estado de Morelos
Publisher: USGS /SAHOP
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Series: SAHOP Landsat
Map Type: Satellite
Scale: 1:250,000
Map of Estado de Morelos

Title: Cuernavaca
Publisher: Comision de Estudios del Territorio Nacional
Country: Mexico
Year: 1978
Map Type: Geology
Scale: 1:50,000
Map of Cuernavaca
Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

The following 3 samples associated with this volcano can be found in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections, and may be availble for research (contact the Rock and Ore Collections Manager). Catalog number links will open a window with more information.

Catalog Number Sample Description Lava Source Collection Date
NMNH 117276-5 Lava Pelado, Cerro --
NMNH 117276-7 Lava Xitle --
NMNH 117276-8 Ignimbrite Amealco Caldera --
External Sites