Thursday, 19 April 2012

Popocatepetl, rumbling and huffing and puffing

Popocatepetl Volcano
As Popocatepetl threatens, Mexico central highlands wait

The level of alert has been raised to 5 out of a possible 7.   This mountain, along with its sister Ixtaccihuatl  (Ish  tock  see  wahtel) form a barrier between the City of Mexico to the West and the City of Puebla, to the East.   Popo is almost 18,000 fasl, while Izzie runs up to 16,300 fasl.    Each peak is 2nd and 3rd highest in Mexico, respectively.   The Pico de Orizaba is the highest, stretching to just shy of 20,000 feet.   All three maintain a snowy cover above the 15,000 foot level, although the area around Popocatepetl is a little stained by effusions from the volcano.
 Another view of the chapel of Santa Maria de los Remedios de Tlachihualtepetl

      It appears, reasonably, to be a little chapel built on the top of a hill.   The fact is that it is a fairly large church built on top of the largest pyramid known to exist in the world.   The Nahuatl name means "unreal mountain"  or "ghost mountain", because the Indians of the pre-Conquest period...Tlaxcalan and Otomi' nations....arrived long after the abandonment of this particular pyramid, built by the same folks who had built the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon in Teotehuacan, 60 miles to the northwest, and the site of Tula 100 miles to the west.    That nation called itself the Toltecs and moved during the 600 AD period to the area now known as the Yucatan, merging with the local Maya peoples there.
     So as to have some idea of the size of the Pyramid of Cholula, it is built upon a perfectly square base, and each leg is one-fourth of a mile in length.  The foundation excavations go down almost 100 feet below what is thought to be the original surface, and the structure from surface to top of structure rises almost 80 feet in height.   On the highest patio in these days, one can see Orizaba, Ixtaccihuatl, Popocatepetl, and La Malinche peaks, and that is covering a lot of territory, almost the size of New England.

      The 2,000 pound gorilla in all of this is Mexico City.   Puebla with its Volkswagen factory and its Cholula suburb is very impressive, and a place worth living in or around, but Mexico City....or better stated....the Federal in the sights of Popocatepetl.    A huge effusion of smoke, pumice particulate, and/or lavic flow heading to the west from the high ridges would bring various levels of catastrophe to 23,000,000 people in the District and surrounding areas.    It is such a severe problem that Mexico City and Mexico in general has responded in recent polls that the impending natural disasters, including the up-coming hurricane season, have displaced the cartel violence as the number one concern of the populace.

       We shall await the will of Popo and give you all reports and updates.   As of yet, we have had no ash-fall on our place outside of Victoria, Tamaulipas.  Upper level winds have been moving some of the effusion in our direction, however.   It will be interesting to see if Obamaham and his secret service will be able to make the trip to Mexico City for the schedule diplomatic events in the next couple of weeks
El Gringo Viejo.