Impressive eruption of Popocatépetl volcano, Mexico

Impressive eruption of Popocatépetl volcano, Mexico

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An impressive eruption took place at Mexico's Popocatépetl volcano at 07:26 UTC (02:26 local time) today.

The eruption ejected incandescent fragments up to 600 m (1 968 feet) from the crater an generated a column of ash that reached a height of about 2 km (6 500 feet) above the crater and drifted northwest.

According to the Washington VAAC, the new emission has resulted in a plume of volcanic ash extending 28 km (17 miles) west of the summit. At 14:27 UTC, volcanic ash cloud was reaching a height of 6.4 km (21 000 feet) above sea level and moving west at 46.3 - 55 km/h (52 - 34 mph).

CENAPRED urged population not to approach the volcano, especially the crater due to the hazard caused by ballistic fragments and the possibility of pyroclastic flows and short-range mudflows. A 12 km (7.4 miles) safety radius remains in effect.

Geological summary

Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, towers to 5 426 m (17 801 feet) 70 km (43.5 miles) SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m (1 312 x 1 968 feet) 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 from Popocatépetl 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 precolumbian time. (GVP)

Featured image: Eruption of Popocatepetl volcano on October 5, 2017. Credit: webcamsdemexico

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