Popocatépetl volcano, México

[ Full page view | Other Volcanoes Index | Main Index | Home Page ]

Popocatépetl volcano, México

The eruptions in the 1920's and in 1994-1996

volcano number: 1401-09= (according to Volcanoes of the World, 1994 edition)

summit elevation: 5465 m

location: 19.023°N, 98.622°W

Last modified on 6 June 1996

Popocatépetl, México's most famous volcano, has been much in the news since Christmas 1994. Following many years of gradually increasing fumarolic and seismic activity, phreatic ash emissions began on 21 December 1994. Such ash emissions continued through mid-1995, followed by several months of relative quiet. On 5 March 1996, phreatic activity resumed, and on 29 March, the first magmatic activity was observed: a viscous lava dome was extruded onto the crater floor. As of late April, the dome had grown much larger than the lava dome emplaced during the 1920's (see below). A powerful explosion on 30 April blew a small crater into the dome's surface, caused the fall of (still warm) lapilli in nearby towns and may have been responsible for the death of five climbers near the summit.

The events thus far resemble much a period of activity in the early 1920's when ash emissions heralded the emission of a small lava dome onto the crater floor. Images of that activity are presented here, along with photos of the crater before and after the 1920s' eruptions.

View into the crater of Popocatépetl in 1906, showing a small ice-free lake on the crater floor. No intracrateral cone or lava extrusion is visible.

Steam and ash plume rising from Popocatépetl during the first stages of its activity, summer of 1920.

Air photo of Popocatépetl during its activity in the early 1920's (date is not specified). All of the summit area is covered with ash from recent eruptions.

Sometime in late 1920, a lava dome was extruded onto the crater floor of Popocatépetl. This dome is seen here at close range on 15 November 1921 when dome growth had apparently stopped. An explosion in January 1922 blew a large hole into the dome's central area (see next photo).

Early 1970's photo of Popocatépetl's crater, showing the ring-shaped remains of the 1920-1921 dome with the explosion crater created in January 1922. Note the intense fumarolic activity.

More info on Popocatépetl and its 1994-1996 eruptions can be found at the following sites:

Cascades Volcano Observatory

Reports in various issues of the GVN Bulletin

A homepage (in Spanish: "Bajo el volcán") and beautiful photos of Popocatépetl in eruption, 1996 by "Gigacom", Mexico

Go to BB's Volcano Homepage

Go to BB's Stromboli Homepage

Go to Vesuvio Decade Volcano Homepage

Go to BB's Etna Homepage