Explosions at Popocatepetl volcano, Mexico

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Mexico's Popocatepetl produced another spectacular explosion over the weekend, just 10 days after authorities reported a new 200 m (656 feet) wide lava dome formed in its crater.

In the last 24 hours, 24 exhalations were recorded, CENAPRED reported March 4, 2019. The exhalations were accompanied by water vapor, gas and light quantities of ash that the winds dispersed to the southwest.

Additionally, 134 minutes of harmonic tremor was recorded, an explosion at 05:41 local time (UTC -6) as well as one volcanotectonic event at 22:19 local time, March 3 (04:19 UTC, March 4) with a magnitude of 1.4.

Incandescence and continuous emission of water vapor and volcanic gases were observed during the night.

The Alert Level remains at Yellow, Phase Two (middle level on a three-color scale).

The video below was recorded at 22:42 LT on March 2 (04:42 UTC, March 3):

CENAPRED reported that each day between February 13 and 19 there were 20 – 140 steam-and-gas emissions from the volcano, some of which contained ash.

Seismicity began to increase at 21:00 local time February 14 coincident with the onset of Strombolian activity. Incandescent material was ejected 1.5 km (0.93 miles) onto the flanks, and gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 2 km (1.2 miles) above the crater rim and drifted SW. The phase lasted for about seven hours, GVP noted.

Ashfall was reported in areas downwind including Tetela del Volcán (20 km / 12.4 miles SW), Zacualpan (31 km / 19.2 miles SW), Jonacatepec (43 km / 26.7 miles SW), Cuautla (43 km / 26.7 miles SW), Ocuituco (24 km / 14.9 miles SW), Yecapixtla (31 km / 19.2 miles SW), and in Tochimilco (16 km / 9.9 miles SSE). 

Between 00:44 and 06:06 LT on February 16, Strombolian activity ejected incandescent material that fell back into the crater. Gas-and-ash plumes rose 1 km (0.62 miles) and drifted SE.

A period of harmonic tremor began at 16:00 LT, accompanied by emissions of water vapor and gas that rose 1.5 km (0.9 miles). By 18:30 ejected incandescent fragments were visible and fell onto flanks 400 m (1 312 feet) from the crater. Plumes rose 2 km (1.2 miles) and drifted NNE.

Seismicity decreased by 21:00 and material was no longer being ejected above the crater rim, though crater incandescence remained visible.

There were at least 14 explosions detected on February 17; the more significant events were recorded at 04:38, 04:57, 07:19, 08:21, and 09:56 LT, generating plumes that rose 2 km (1.2 miles) and drifted NNE.

Minor ashfall was reported in areas downwind including Tlaxco (85 km / 52.8 miles NE) and Xalostoc, Nativitas (40 km / 24.8 miles NE), Hueyotlipan (57 km / 35.4 miles NNE), Amaxac de Guerrero (60 km / 37.2 miles NE), Tepetitla de Lardizábal (37 km / 22.9 miles NE), Texoloc, and Tlaxcala (51 km / 31.6 miles NE).

An explosion at 07:04 LT on February 18 produced a plume that rose 2 km (1.2 miles) and drifted NNE. An explosion was detected at 06:13 LT on February 19.

On February 20, CENAPRED noted the growth of lava dome #82 – 200 m (656 feet) in diameter. 

Featured image: Explosion at Popocatepetl volcano on March 2, 2019. Credit: webcamsdemexico

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