Increased explosive activity at Popocatepetl volcano, Mexico

Increased explosive activity at Popocatepetl volcano, Mexico

Increased volcanic activity continues at Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano with 5 strong explosions and 169 exhalations of water vapor, gas and ash in 24 hours to 10:00 LT (15:00 UTC) on June 30, 2019.

Two explosions on June 29, at 13:36 and 15:09 LT, were not visible due to weather conditions. Three other explosions, at 00:52, 04:40 and 09:18 LT on June 30, had moderate ash content.

The one at 00:52 LT produced ash column up to 1.5 km (4 900 feet) above crate and threw incandescent fragments 1 km (0.62 miles) away. The 04:40 LT explosion reached approximately 1 km (3 300 feet) above the crater and hurled incandescent fragments at close range.

One volcano-tectonic earthquake was recorded at 10:43 LT on June 30 with a preliminary magnitude of 2.0 and 90 minutes of tremor.

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

Geological summary

Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, rises 70 km (44 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 credit: CENAPRED, webcamsdemexico

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