Popocatépetl Volcano - John Seach



19.023 N, 98.622 W
summit elevation 5426 m

Popocatepetl is a large, partly glacier-covered, composite andesitic volcano. It is located 60 km southeast of Mexico City. Popocatépetl is on the volcanic front of the central Mexican magmatic arc (Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt). Popocatépetl is the third highest active volcano in the Northern Hemisphere.

The volcano presents a great hazard to Mexico City and to other nearby cities and towns from a possible major volcanic eruption.

The cone at Popocatepetl has been built over 23,000 year and consisted of interlayered andesitic to dacitic lava flows, and pyroclastic deposits. An older cone at the volcano was destroyed by a Bezymianny-type eruption.

2013 Eruptions
During January 2013 incandescence was observed at the crater.

2012 Eruptions
On 2-3 May 2012 activity increased at Popocatepetl Volcano. Volcanic tremor was detected and dense ash emissions drifted drifted W, NW, and NNE. Ash fell in Amecameca (20 km NW), Atlautla, Ozumba (18 km W), Ecatzingo (15 km SW), Chalco (35 km NW), and some parts of SE México City (70 km NW). Incandescent lava was ejected up to 800 m from crater.

2011 Eruptions
 On 3rd June 2011 ashfall was reported in the municipalities of Tetela del Volcán (20 km SW), Zacualpan (31 km SW), Jonacatepec (43 km SW), and Axochiapan (60 km SSW).

2009 Eruptions
On 29th January 2001 pyroclastic flows travelled 8 km from Popocatepetl Volcano causing glacial melting. Some towns, well outside the security radius of 13 km, were also evacuated by decision of their mayors. About 41,000 people left the area.

2008 Eruptions
An eruption occurred on 5th January 2008 with ash to 24,000 ft altitude.

1996-2005 Eruption and Fatalities
Eruptions at Popocatepetl Volcano resumed on 5th March 1996 with explosions and formation of a lava dome. On 30 April 1996 five climbers were killed at the crater rim by an explosion of Popocatepetl Volcano. Between 1996 and 2005 there were 26 dome growth–destruction cycles.

1994-95 Eruptions
Eruptions at Popocatepetl Volcano began on 21 December 1994 after 70 years dormancy. Vulcanian explosions produced ash columns 2 km above the vent, and forced the evacuation of 25,000 people. The eruptions stopped in August 1995.

Eruptions between 1500 and 1990
No large scale eruption occurred during this period at Popocatepetl Volcano. The eruptions were relatively small, and included the formation of small domes inside the summit crater. Destruction of the domes produced Vulcanian eruptions which resulted in 1–10-km-high ash plumes. Each eruption at Popocatepetl lasted for a few years, and no major damage or casualties were reported.

Plinian eruptions occurred about 5000, 2100, and 1100 years ago and destroyed large areas on the northeast flank of Popocatépetl.

Eruption 17,000 years ago
A Plinian eruption 17,000 years ago produced the “Tutti-Frutti” deposits which covered the area which is not occupied by Mexico city. Projectiles 30–40 cm in diameter were found 10 km from the crater on the northwest flank of the volcano.

Popocatépetl Volcano Eruptions

2011-13, 2007-2009, 1996-2006, 1994-95, 1947, 1942-43, 1933, 1923-24, 1920-22, 1852, 1827-34, 1802-04, 1720, 1697, 1663-67, 1642, 1592-94, 1590, 1580, 1571, 1548, 1542, 1539-40, 1530, 1528, 1519-23?, 1518, 1512?, 1509?, 1504, 1488, 1363, 1354, 1345-47.