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Iztaccíhuatl

Photo of this volcano
  • Mexico
  • México and Central America
  • Stratovolcano
  • Unknown - Evidence Credible
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 19.179°N
  • 98.642°W

  • 5230 m
    17159 ft

  • 341082
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Iztaccíhuatl.

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

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

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

The Global Volcanism Program is not aware of any Holocene eruptions from Iztaccíhuatl. If this volcano has had large eruptions (VEI >= 4) prior to 10,000 years ago, information might be found on the Iztaccíhuatl page in the LaMEVE (Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions) database, a part of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).

Deformation History

There is no Deformation History data available for Iztaccíhuatl.

Emission History

There is no Emissions History data available for Iztaccíhuatl.

Photo Gallery

The elongate Iztaccíhuatl has a more conical profile when viewed from the Querentano hut on Popocatépetl to the south. One of the youngest vents of Iztaccíhuatl produced a lava flow north of the Paso de Cortés saddle between the two volcanoes. The flow traveled 5 km to the east.

Photo by Jim Luhr, 1981 (Smithsonian Institution).
Popocatépetl volcano is seen here to the south from the Iztaccíhuatl summit ridge. Unlike the eroded Iztaccíhuatl volcano, which has been infrequently active during the Holocene, Popocatépetl has been vigorously active.

Photo by Jim Luhr, 1981 (Smithsonian Institution).
The northern end of the Iztaccíhuatl summit ridge is seen here from east of the Paso de Cortés to the south. A postglacial vent is located on the lower south flank of the volcano, north of the saddle between Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl.

Copyrighted photo by Stephen O'Meara, 1993.
Iztaccíhuatl along with Popocatépetl are the subjects of legends with their morphologies reflecting their characters. The profile of a sleeping woman can be seen here from the west above the Valley of Mexico. A series of overlapping cones constructed along a NNW-SSE trend forms the summit ridge. From left to right they are La Cabeza (the head), El Pecho, Las Rodillas, and Los Pies (the feet). The volcano is mostly Pleistocene in age, but minor Holocene activity has occurred.

Photo by Gerardo Carrasco-Núñez (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Iztaccíhuatl rises SW of the Puebla basin in central México. A series of overlapping cones constructed along a NNW-SSE trend forms the summit ridge, which is 6 km long just above the snowline. Glaciation has extensively eroded the summit and flanks of the dominantly Pleistocene edifice. The Toltec climbed Iztaccíhuatl and left terracotta, carved stone, jade, and obsidian artifacts just below the summit, forming the highest archeological site in North America.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
Iztaccíhuatl (left) and Popocatépetl (right) seen east of the Valley of Mexico. The differing profiles of the two volcanoes are due to varying styles and durations of volcanism. Iztaccíhuatl's elongate form reflects migration of volcanism over long periods of time along a NNW-SSE trend; it is largely Pleistocene in age, and has been extensively eroded. The more symmetrical Popocatépetl is much younger and has more-localized vents.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
The Sierra Nevada east of the Valley of Mexico is a N-S-trending volcanic chain that runs perpendicular to the E-W trend of the Mexican Volcanic Belt. As with other transverse volcanic chains such as Cántaro-Colima and Cofre de Perote-Orizaba, the volcanic features in the Sierra Nevada range are younger towards the south. The broad forested volcanoes of Tláloc and Telapon in the distance are Pliocene in age, Iztaccíhuatl in the center is largely Pleistocene, and Popocatépetl in the foreground has been historically active.

Photo by José Macías, 1996 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Iztaccíhuatl rises more than 2.5 km from the floor of the Valley of Mexico to form one of Mexico’s highest volcanoes. The profile of a sleeping woman in the legend of Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl can be seen in this view from the west. The massive 450 km3 volcano is a composite of overlapping edifices along a N-S-trending line.

Photo by José Macías, 1995 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Iztaccíhuatl (right) and Popocatépetl (left) rise above farmlands at the eastern margin of the Puebla basin within Izta-Popocatépetl National Park. Andesite and dacite lava flows erupted from vents along the N-S-trending summit ridge of Iztaccíhuatl extend all the way to the base of the volcano. A small plume rises from the summit of Popocatépetl in this 1996 photo.

Photo by José Macías, 1996 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl are part of the N-S-trending Sierra Nevada range SE of Mexico City. Iztaccíhuatl, in the center of the range, is to the upper left, and Popocatépetl is in the foreground at the southern extremity of the range. The Sierra Nevada separates the Valley of Mexico from the Puebla basin, which can be seen to the east. Ashfall from recent eruptions covers the summit snow cover this 1996 photo.

Photo by José Macías, 1996 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Iztaccíhuatl is a massive 450 km3 stratovolcano SE of Mexico City, seen here from the SW. The summit is composed of several overlapping edifices, including the northernmost peak, La Cabeza (left), the snow-capped high point El Pecho, and Las Rodillas (below the lower Ayoloco glacier near the center). Most activity ceased during the Pleistocene, and the volcano has been extensively glaciated, as seen by the sharp-crested glacial moraines below the Ayoloco glacier.

Photo by José Macías, 1995 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
The profile of Iztaccíhuatl seen from the summit of Papayo volcano to the north. The northern base of the volcano is the Llano Grande edifice (the oldest edifice of Iztaccíhuatl) and the NW-flank La Trampa lava flows. The low-angle ridge extending to the NE (left) consists of the Teyotl dacite lava flows that erupted from a vent on the upper northern flank about 80,000 years ago. A gas plume can be seen at the summit of Popocatépetl to the far right.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
The broad Iztaccíhuatl massif rises north of Paso de Cortes, the saddle between Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl volcanoes. The summit of Iztaccíhuatl is at the left, NNW of the apparent high point Las Rodillas (center). The sharp peak at the right is Los Pies (also known as Amacuilecatl), the southernmost major peak of the volcano.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
The volcanoes bordering the Valley of Mexico appear in Aztec legend. Popocatépetl (right) is said to hold a funeral torch for Iztaccíhuatl (left), the sleeping "Woman in White." The hills in the foreground (seen from the summit of Xitle scoria cone) are part of the broad Chichinautzin volcanic field south of Mexico City. Chichinautzin means "Burning Lord," a possible reference to eruptive activity.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
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).
Iztaccíhuatl rises above the clouds in this aerial view from the NW. The summit ridge is formed by a series of overlapping edifices. La Cabeza is to the left, glacier-covered El Pecho in the center, and Las Rodillas to the far right.

Photo by Hugo Delgado, 1996 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
A view from a helicopter heading east towards Popocatépetl (right) and Iztaccíhuatl (left) in March 2000 during a monitoring flight. Opposing winds above 6 km give the gas plume from Popocatépetl an "S" shape. The Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (CENAPRED) is engaged in an active monitoring program on Popocatépetl using instrumentation to evaluate seismic, geodetic, and geochemical parameters of the ongoing eruption.

Photo by Servando De la Cruz-Reyna, 2000 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
The N-S-trending Popocatépetl-Iztaccíhuatl volcanic chain lies between the Valley of Mexico and the Puebla basin. Snow-capped Iztaccíhuatl volcano lies just above the center of the image. The city of Texmelucan can be seen at the upper right. Across the Paso de Cortés from Iztaccíhuatl is steaming Popocatépetl volcano, located SE of the city of Amecameca (mid-left margin). A voluminous prehistorical lava field from Popocatépetl forms the forested lobe extending about 20 km down the eastern flank at the lower right.

ASTER satellite image, 2001 (National Aeronautical and Space Administration, processed by Doug Edmonds).
An ash plume from Popocatépetl reaching over 9 km above sea level and dispersing to the south on 23 January 2001. Larger explosions the day before had produced plumes that rose 8 km above the summit and pyroclastic flows that traveled 4-6 km down the north flank. The large dark-colored area below and to the left of the volcano is a lava field. The elongate Iztaccíhuatl volcano is visible to the lower right.

Image courtesy of Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center, 2002 (http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov).
Iztaccíhuatl (left) and Popocatepetl (right), two of the highest volcanoes in Mexico, are seen from the SW on a rare smog-free day. The morphology of Iztaccíhuatl is due to multiple vents across the summit region . Fresh snowfall at Popocatepetl covers periodic ashfall deposits.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2004 (Smithsonian Institution).
This photo looks south from Telapón volcano and shows the rounded Papayo lava dome in the foreground, with snow-capped Iztaccíhuatl (left) and Popocatépetl (right) in the background. These volcanoes, along with Telapón, and Tláloc stratovolcanoes, form a N-S-trending chain east of Mexico City and transverse to the Mexican Volcanic Belt trend.

Photo by Anita Cadoux, 2007 (Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM, Mexico).
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: Tepatlaxco
Publisher: INEGI
Country: Mexico
Year: 1998
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:50,000
Map of Tepatlaxco

Title: Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza
Publisher: INEGI
Country: Mexico
Year: 1996
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:50,000
Map of Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza

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: San Francisco Totimehuacan
Publisher: Instituto Nacional de Estadistica Geografia e Informatica
Country: Mexico
Year: 1987
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:50,000
Map of San Francisco Totimehuacan

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

Title: Tepeaca
Publisher: Instituto Nacional de Estadistica Geografia e Informatica
Country: Mexico
Year: 1984
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:50,000
Map of Tepeaca

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

Title: Bath of Gulf of Mexico & Caribbean Sea
Publisher: AAPG, Williams & Heintz Map Corp.
Country: US/ C.Am/ S.Am
Year: 1984
Map Type: Bathymetric
Scale: 1:3,289
Map of Bath of Gulf of Mexico & Caribbean Sea

Title: Veracruz
Publisher: INEGI
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:250,000
Map of Veracruz

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

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

The following 28 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 117253-49 Basalt Llano Grande --
NMNH 117253-50 Basalt Llano Grande --
NMNH 117253-51 Basalt -- --
NMNH 117253-52 Andesite Llano Grande --
NMNH 117253-8 Basalt Llano Grande --
NMNH 117624-1 Andesite -- --
NMNH 117624-10 Hornblende Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-11 Hornblende Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-12 Pyroxene Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-13 Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-14 Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-15 Hornblende Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-16 Pyroxene Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-17 Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-18 Pyroxene Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-19 Hornblende Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-2 Andesite -- --
NMNH 117624-20 Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-21 Hornblende Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-22 Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-23 Pyroxene Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-3 Andesite -- --
NMNH 117624-4 Andesite -- --
NMNH 117624-5 Andesite -- --
NMNH 117624-6 Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-7 Hornblende Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-8 Dacite -- --
NMNH 117624-9 Pyroxene Dacite -- --
External Sites