Video from Popocatépetl overflight on October 8

Mexico’s Naval Secretariat (SEMAR) did an overflight this week – something they are wont to do.

This one has remarkable closeups of Popo’s crater, including a quick view at one point of what looks like red lava – probably a hot spot rather than a tiny lava lake.

A meteorological note: See how that cloud deck at the lower edges of the volcano kind of circles the mountain but gives it plenty of space?

It’s certainly not due to volcanism “melting” the clouds away. It’s not hot down there like it is in the crater and the internal parts of Don Goyo – at the lower levels, many forms of flora and fauna thrive, running the gamut from near alpine to near tropical.

Rather, this rising column of hot air and volcanic gases (see the wispy plume above the crater?) probably displaces cold upper level air, which sinks down the sides of this 17,800-foot volcano. Cold air holds less moisture and thus it keeps the lower cloud deck at bay.

The process may also spawn those clouds, from the looks of them. Some sort of rebound effect? This very amateur weather weenie doesn’t know.

Categories: volcanoes, Weather

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