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Cofre de Perote

Photo of this volcano
  • Mexico
  • México and Central America
  • Shield(s)
  • 1150 CE
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 19.492°N
  • 97.15°W

  • 4282 m
    14049 ft

  • 341096
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Cofre de Perote.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Cofre de Perote.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Cofre de Perote.

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 1 Holocene eruptive periods.

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1150 ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed 2 Radiocarbon (corrected) Lower NE flank (El Volcancillo)
Deformation History

There is no Deformation History data available for Cofre de Perote.

Emission History

There is no Emissions History data available for Cofre de Perote.

Photo Gallery

The broad Cofre de Perote massif towers above the eastern margin of the Serdán-Oriental basin. The low-angle volcano consists primarily of thick lava flows. It is the northernmost volcano of a roughly N-S-trending chain at the eastern margin of the Mexican Volcanic Belt that extends southward to Orizaba volcano. The ridge in the center of the photo is an outcrop of Cretaceous limestone that underlies the Cofre-Orizaba volcanic chain and is exposed on either side of the range.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
Cofre de Perote, a massive Quaternary volcano at the NNE end of a volcanic chain extending southward to Pico de Orizaba volcano, rises above banana crops below its SE flank. A large compound escarpment formed in part by edifice collapse is visible on the eastern flank. The upper part of this scarp forms the barren area below the summit. Numerous scoria cones, some of Holocene age, formed across the flanks of the largely Pleistocene edifice.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
The eastern side of the summit of Cofre de Perote contains a steep escarpment. The volcano lies at the NNE end of a N-S-trending range that extends 50 km S to glaciated, historically active Pico de Orizaba (Citlaltépetl) in the distance. Like other N-S volcanic chains in México perpendicular to the Mexican Volcanic Belt, volcanism in the Cofre-Orizaba chain has migrated to the south.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
A series of waterfalls near the town of Xico on the eastern flank of Cofre de Perote formed over a massive lava flow. Cofre de Perote was constructed along the margin of the Mexican Altiplano, and thick viscous Pleistocene lava flows extend tens of kilometers down the eastern flanks towards the coastal plain.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
Large compound horseshoe-shaped scarps, formed in part by edifice collapse, are visible near the summit of the eastern side of Cofre de Perote volcano. The massive size of the edifice can be appreciated in this photo taken from the city of Coatepec, which lies 21 km ESE and 3,000 m below the summit.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
Cofre de Perote volcano towers above the city of Coatepec on its eastern flank. The flanks of contain smaller cones, including the one in the center of the city from which this photo was taken. The volcano was constructed at the eastern margin of the Altiplano and consequently has an asymmetrical profile, extending farther towards the east in the direction of the lower-altitude coastal plain.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
The summit region of Cofre de Perote consists of at least two glacially eroded edifices. Glacial cirques and moraines are found in the summit area. The steep-walled east-facing scarp cutting across the center of the photo that exposes westward-dipping lavas was formed in part by edifice collapse.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
The broad Cofre de Perote massif to the upper right is at the northern end of a N-S-trending volcanic chain at the far eastern side of the Mexican Volcanic Belt. The broad profile was produced by the extrusion of thick sequences of lava flows.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
The steep-walled 200-m-wide crater in the foreground at El Volcancillo on the NE flank of Cofre de Perote was the source of the voluminous Río Naolinco lava flow about 900 years ago. The pahoehoe lava flow traveled initially to the north and then to the east for a distance of 50 km, partly within lava tubes. El Volcancillo consists of two overlapping craters constructed on a ridge crest. The Río Naolinco lava flow originated from the NW crater; the SE crater fed the Toxtlacuaya ‘a’a lava flow down a valley on the opposite side of the ridge.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
The people in the left foreground are standing on the Toxtlacuaya lava flow, which traveled in a narrow lobe down into the valley filled by the flat-lying Río Naolinco lava flow. Both flows were produced about 900 years ago during a geochemically bimodal eruption which initially produced the alkaline Toxtlacuaya lava flow and then the voluminous calc-alkaline Río Naolinco flow. Although the flows erupted through the lower flanks of Cofre de Perote volcano, they are geochemically distinct from Cofre de Perote lavas.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
Cofre de Perote, sometimes referred to as the Treasure Chest of Perote, is seen here from the NW above fields near the town of Perote. The lower northern flanks of the largely Pleistocene volcano are overlain by ignimbrite deposits that erupted from the Los Húmeros caldera.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
One of the Aztec names for Cofre de Perote was Naucampatepetl, or "Mountain of Four Sides." The flat-topped glacially modified summit is seen here from the NE on the road between the cities of Perote and Jalapa (Xalapa), the capital city of the state of Veracruz. The highway follows the low-angle surface of valley floors filled by young lava flows that erupted from vents on the NE flank.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
The smooth profile of the Cofre de Perote volcano is modified on the NE side by steep escarpments. The morphology of the summit reflects both edifice collapse and glacial erosion. Dacite lava flows can be seen on the right-hand horizon.

Photo by Hugo Delgado, 1997 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
The broad Cofre de Perote massif in the distance is seen in an aerial view from the west. As with other volcanoes of the Orizaba-Cofre chain, it was constructed over the eastern margin of the Mexican altiplano, so that the volcano asymmetrically extends farther toward the lower-elevation coastal plain. It rises 1,700 m above the Serdán-Oriental basin on the west and 3,000 m above the city of Jalapa (Xalapa) to the east.

Photo by Lucio Cardenas, 1996 (CENAPRED, courtesy of Hugo Delgado, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Quaternary lava flows of varying ages cover the entire 4-km-wide field of view in this aerial photo of an area NW of Jalapa. Several lobes of the sparsely vegetated Toxtlacuaya lava flow extend across the center of the photo. The northernmost lobe joins with the darker-colored Río Naolinco lava flow at the upper right. Both of these flows were erupted about 900 years ago from El Volcancillo, a vent on the NE flank of Cofre de Perote. The Toxtlacuaya flow overlies older flows from the Central Cone Complex and still older flows at the bottom from Cerro La Joya.

Aerial photo by Comisión de Estudios del Territorio Nacional (CETENAL), 1:25,000.
The Río Naolinco lava flow, which fills the entire valley floor in the foreground, is the most voluminous of two chemically distinct lava flows erupted from El Volcancillo on the south flank of Cofre de Perote volcano about 900 years ago. The Río Naolinco flow traveled 50 km and has an estimated volume of about 1.3 km3. This view looks south across the flow near its widest point about 25 km from the vent.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2000 (Smithsonian Institution).
The slope in the foreground is the surface of the Xico debris avalanche deposit, which formed at the end of the Pleistocene during the youngest of several edifice collapse events at Cofre de Perote volcano. The highly mobile avalanche traveled into the Río Pescado drainage and covers an area of at least area ∼73 km2.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2000 (Smithsonian Institution).
The eastern side of Cofre de Perote volcano contains scarps from a series of edifice collapse events during the late Pleistocene. The youngest escarpment forms the unvegetated area below the summit in this view from just south of the town of Xico, which overlies the youngest avalanche deposit. The summit of Cofre lies 17 km to the west and 3,000 m above this location.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2000 (Smithsonian Institution).
The hill on the horizon is El Volcanicillo, a scoria cone that produced two lava flows down opposite sides of a ridge on the NE flank of Cofre de Perote volcano. The forested area extending across the photo below the cone is the Río Naolinco lava flow, a massive 900-year-old pahoehoe flow that reached as far as 50 km from El Volcanillo; the ‘a’a Toxtlacuaya flow traveled down the opposite side of the ridge. Highway 140 is in the foreground.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2000 (Smithsonian Institution).
Glacial erosion has modified the summit of Cofre de Perote volcano. Summit lava flows show glacial striations, and a glacial tarn (left) is SW of the summit. Cofre de Perote overlooks the intermontaine Serdán-Oriental basin, which contains lava domes, tuff rings, lava flows, and scoria cones. The two Las Derrumbadas lava domes are in the distance and Cerro Pinto dome to their right are about 40 km SW.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
The flanks of the massive Cofre de Perote shield volcano extend across most of the left two-thirds of this satellite image. The summit of the volcano (lower left) has been truncated by edifice failure to the east. The large brown area at the middle right is Jalapa, the capital city of the state of Veracruz; to its SW is the city of Coatepeque. The voluminous dark-colored Río Naolinco lava flow north of Jalapa originated from a vent on the lower NE flank of Cofre de Perote about 900 years ago and traveled an additional 15 km beyond the margin of this image.

ASTER satellite image, 2001 (National Aeronautical and Space Administration, processed by Doug Edmonds).
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: Cordoba
Publisher: Instituto Nacional de Estadistica Geografia e Informatica
Country: Mexico
Year: 1996
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:50,000
Map of Cordoba

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: Huatusco
Publisher: Instituto Nacional de Estadistica Geografia e Informatica
Country: Mexico
Year: 1990
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:50,000
Map of Huatusco

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

Title: Mexico
Publisher: DMA Aerospace Center
Country: Mexico
Year: 1985
Series: ONC
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:1,000,000
Map of 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: Coscomatepec
Publisher: SPP & INEGI
Country: Mexico
Year: 1983
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:50,000
Map of Coscomatepec

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: Belize, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Publisher: DMA Aerospace Center
Country: Mexico
Year: 1981
Series: ONC
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:1,000,000
Map of Belize, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Cofre de Perote in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

External Sites