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Popocatépetl (pōpəkătˈəpĕtəl, pōpōˌkätāˈpətəl) [key] [Aztec, = smoking mountain], volcano, 17,887 ft (5,452 m) high, in the Cordillera de Anáhuac, central Mexico, on the Puebla-Mexico state border; the second highest peak in Mexico. The perpetually snowcapped cone is symmetrical, and the large crater has practically pure sulfur deposits. The ascent, which is fairly easy, was probably first made by Europeans in 1519 by one of Cortés's men. It was quite active during the first two centuries of Spanish colonial times, and from 1919 to 1947 and since 1994 it again experienced a series of eruptions. Its last major Plinian eruption (see volcano) was in A.D. 800.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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