Popocatepetl rumbles again with gas emissions and glowing lava
On July 26th 2012, CENAPRED has reported that in the last 24 hours the monitoring system of Popocatépetl volcano registered 5 low intensity exhalations accompanied by steam, gas and probably by small amounts of ash. Ten volcano tectonics events of low magnitude have also been registered. Additionally, some episodes of high frequency spasmodic tremor of low amplitude were detected, adding up to nearly 25 minutes.
During most of the day, the volcano could not be seen due to dense clouds. It was possible to observe incandescence over the crater rim during the night of July 25th. During the morning of July 26th the volcano could be observed emitting a continuous steam and gas plume, reaching 1 km high and travelling towards southwest.
The alert today is still at Yellow, Phase 3. This level implies:
Intermediate scale explosive activity at high, dome growth and possible expulsion of lava, explosions of increasing intensity and rain of ash on nearby villages noticeable in smaller quantities and more remote populations, depending on wind direction.
1. Announcing the situation and measures taken to the public and the media.
2. Prepare personnel, equipment and evacuation shelters.
3. Implement specific measures in the most vulnerable.
4. Implement preventive measures against ash fall, lahars and against fragments in vulnerable regions.
5. Alert air navigation systems.
6. Limit access to the volcano over a larger area.
By 1:00 UTC, July 27th 2012, CENAPRED registered 7 new low intensity exhalations accompanied by steam and gas. Two volcano tectonics events of low magnitude have also been registered. Additionally, some episodes of high frequency spasmodic tremor of low amplitude were detected.
During several lapses a continuous steam and gas plume could be observed, reaching 1.5 km high and travelling towards the north-northwest. During the day a visible glow can be also be seen as lava is starting to appear.
Popocatepetl Volcano is being continuously monitored 24 hours a day.
Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, towers to 5426 m 70 km SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m 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 south of the volcano.
The modern volcano was constructed to the south of the late-Pleistocene to Holocene El Fraile cone. Three major plinian eruptions, the most recent of which took place about 800 AD, 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.
Source: CENAPRED, Global Volcanism Program
Featured image: Popocatepetl on July 26, 2012. Credit: CENAPRED