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Popocatépetl spews volcanic ash up to 7.3 km (24 000 feet) a.s.l., Mexico

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Volcanic ash produced by the eruption of Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano has reached 7.3 km (24 000 feet) above sea level at 14:37 UTC on September 29, 2016.

According to the Washington VAAC, ash cloud is moving to the west and northwest of the summit.

At 16:00 UTC, CENAPRED reported that during the past 24 hours, seismic records of the surveillance system at Popocatépetl volcano registered 284 low-intensity exhalations with steam, gas and ash emission. It was not possible to observe the volcano continuously due to cloudy conditions.

The agency noted they have also recorded 99 minutes of low-amplitude harmonic tremor. 

CENAPRED emphasizes that people should not go near the volcano, especially near the crater, due to the hazard caused by ballistic fragments.

Popocatepetl volcano erupting at 14:32 UTC on September 29, 2016. Credit: webcamsdemexico

Geological summary

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 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)ed

Featured image: Popocatepetl volcano erupting at 14:32 UTC on September 29, 2016. Credit:  webcamsdemexico

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