Located about 70 kilometers (40 miles) southeast of Mexico City, Popocatépetl (pronounced poh-poh-kah-TEH-peh-til) is one of Mexico’s most active volcanoes. The towering stratovolcano has been erupting since January 2005, with near constant venting from fumaroles, punctuated by steam, gas, and ash emissions.
February 2020 was no exception. The Global Volcanism Program and Mexico’s National Center for Prevention of Disasters reported dozens-to-hundreds of steam-and-gas emissions on most days, as well as multiple low-to-moderate level eruptions of gas. Occasionally, the volcano ejected ash and incandescent material.
On February 25, 2020, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this false-color image of a volcanic plume venting from the summit crater. The image combines infrared, red, and green wavelengths such that the surrounding vegetation appears red.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using data from NASA/METI/AIST/Japan Space Systems, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Text by Adam Voiland.