Strong explosion at Popocatepetl volcano, ash to 11.3 km (37 000 feet) a.s.l., Mexico.
A strong explosion took place at Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano at 12:31 UTC (06:31 LT) on January 9, 2020. At least two volcanic ash clouds were produced today, with initial rising up to 11.3 km (37 000 feet) above sea level, and second to 9.1 km (30 000 feet) a.s.l. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two (the middle level on a three-color scale).
The explosion threw incandescent material at a distance of 1 km (0.62 miles) from the edge of the crater.
In 24 hours to 17:00 UTC today, monitoring systems recorded 268 exhalations composed of water vapor, volcanic gases, and low ash content. Additionally, 90 minutes of tremor were recorded and 1 volcano-tectonic earthquake at 16:10 UTC on January 8 with a magnitude of 1.4.
Although CENAPRED initially reported ash cloud to 3 km (9 800 feet), according to data provided by the Washington VAAC, it rose to 11.3 km (37 000 feet) a.s.l. by 13:46 UTC, drifting SE and stretching 140 km (86 miles) from the summit.
The initial volcanic ash cloud dissipated by 18:41 UTC and was no longer visible in satellite imagery. Second volcanic ash continued moving NNE at 18 km/h (11 mph) at a height of 8.2 km (27 000 feet) a.s.l., the Washington VAAC reported.
Light ashfall was reported in the State of Mexico, Ozumba, Puebla, San Nicolás de los Ranchos, Chiautzingo, San Matías Tlalpaneca, and Teotlalzingo.
CENAPRED urges residents and tourists not to approach the volcano, especially the crater, due to the danger of falling ballistic fragments and in case of heavy rains to move away from ravines due to the danger of mud and debris flows. Ignore rumors and be attentive to the information issued by the National Civil Protection Coordination through its official channels.
Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, rises 70 km (44 miles) SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m (1 312 x 1 968 feet) 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)