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Popocatepetl, Mexico

Location: 19.02N, 98.62W
Elevation: 17,883 ft (5452 m)
More Information


Photo by Steven Zarch, May 8, 2000.

Popocatepetl is a snow capped stratovolcano that stands 13,776 ft (4200 m) above the surrounding basin. The name Popocatepetl, meaning "Smoking Mountain", was given to the volcano by the Aztecs, and suggests that the volcano has long been active. Popo, as it is often called, is built on an older volcano which adds 12,464 ft (3800 m) to Popocatepetl's elevation.
The new cone consists of many steep lava flows that alternate with thick pyroclastic layers.

Popocatepetl has an almost perfect conical shape up to an elevation of 16,400 ft (5000 m), where the cone becomes more irregular. Its shape is changed by Pico del Fraile (a peak which is the remains of the older stratovolcano called Nexpayantla) which sticks out on the northwest side of Popocatepetl. The crater of Popo is oval shaped, very deep and has near vertical walls. It measures 2,007 by 1,312 ft (612 m by 400 m) across and has a small spatter cone that rises 115 ft (35 m) above the crater floor. The cone is covered with yellow sulphur spots and volcanic gases escape from numerous fumaroles in its walls as well as from the walls of the main crater. These inner walls are made of horizontal layers of lava flows alternating with pyroclastics deposits. Nexpayantla consists of red-gray porphyritic, andesite. Accurate knowledge of the activity of this volcano reaches back to the first days of Spanish conquest. Popo has erupted at least 36 times, with the most recent activity starting in 1995 and continuiny into 1997.

More about Popocatepetl and Popo

Eruption Update

GOES Hotspot images

JPL images of Popoctepetl

Source of information:
Mooser, F., et al, "Catalogue of the Active Volcanoes of the World Including Solfatara Fields: Part VI, Central America," International Volcanological Association, Napoli, Italy, 146 pp., 1958.



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