Sunday, July 19, 2009

Popcatepetl Volcano

"Popocatépetl is an active volcano and, at 5,426 m (17,802 ft), the second highest peak in Mexico after the Pico de Orizaba (5,636 m). Popocatépetl is linked to the Iztaccíhuatl volcano to the north by the high saddle known as the Paso de Cortés, and lies in the eastern half of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt.
The name Popocatépetl comes from the Nahuatl words popōca 'it smokes' and tepētl 'mountain', thus Smoking Mountain; the name Don Goyo comes from the mountain’s association in the lore of the region with San Gregorio (St. Gregory), ‘Goyo’ being a nickname-like short form of Gregorio.

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.
Popocatepetl is one of the most active volcanoes in Mexico, having had more than 20 major eruptions since the arrival of the Spanish in 1519. A major eruption occurred in 1947 to begin this cycle of activity. Then, on December 21, 1994 the volcano spewed gas and ash which was carried as far as 25 km (16 mi) away by prevailing winds. The activity prompted the evacuation of nearby towns and scientists to begin monitoring for an eruption. In December 2000, tens of thousands of people were evacuated by the government based on the warnings of scientists. The volcano then made its largest display in 1200 years." (Information provided by

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