Ongoing Activity at Popocatépetl

Ongoing Activity at Popocatépetl

Popocatépetl Volcano—one of North America’s most active—towers over central Mexico. Popocatépetl has been erupting since January 2005, with near constant venting from fumaroles punctuated by minor steam, gas, and ash emissions. Plumes are occasionally visible from Mexico City, only 70 kilometers (40 miles) to the northwest.

This natural-color satellite image shows volcanic gases over Popocatépetl’s summit crater on October 21, 2010. The image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard Earth Observing-1 (EO-1). One hour before, the Popocatépetl webcam captured a picture of steam and other gases rising above the summit.

According to the Mexican National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED), Popocatépetl is likely to continue its mild activity:

From high to low probability, the expected activity scenarios in the next hours, days, or weeks are: moderate exhalations, some with ash emissions; occasionally mild incandescence during nights; and sporadic, low-level explosions with low probabilities of incandescent fragments at short distances to the crater.
  1. References

  2. Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres. (2010, October 31). Nivel de actividad del volcán Popocatépetl. Accessed November 1, 2010.
  3. Global Volcanism Program. (2010). Popocatépetl. Accessed November 1, 2010.

NASA image by Robert Simmon, using ALI data from the EO-1 team. Caption by Robert Simmon.