Strong explosion at Popocatepetl volcano, Mexico

Strong explosion at Popocatepetl volcano, Mexico

A strong explosion took place at Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano at 03:06 UTC on January 23, 2019 (21:06 CST, January 22). 

The eruption threw incandescent fragments to a distance of 2 km (1.2 miles) over the slopes of the volcano. Ash was dispersed in a northeasterly direction, suggesting ashfall in the localities of that sector, CENAPRED said.

At 03:30 UTC, the volcanic cloud was reaching a height of near 7.6 km (25 000 feet) above sea level, the Washington VAAC reported 04:08 UTC. Ash is expected to dissipate over the next 12 hours.

In the last 24 hours, Popocatepetl volcano monitoring system registered 94 exhalations. Additionally, 68 minutes of low amplitude harmonic tremor were observed and two volcano-tectonic earthquakes - M2.3 and M1.9.

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: Popocatepetl eruption at 03:06 UTC, January 23, 2019. Credit: CENAPRED/WebCamsDeMexico


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