With an altitude of more than 5740 m (18871 ft.,) the highest Mexican mountain with
an estimated altitude of 5685 meters above sea level , there is some debate regarding its height. quotes 5610 meter as a revised value. A
significantly higher 5740 m is also frequently quoted.
It is the highest inactive volcano in Mexico. Situated between the states of Puebla and Veracruz, it is cone-shaped and has a crater with a depth of 300 m and a width or 400 m.
is located in the boundary
between the states of Puebla and Veracruz, 106 km West of the Gulf of
Mexico. The second prominent feature within the park is a 4600 meter
volcano named Tliltepetl, or Volcan Sierra Negra, whose crater is at slightly
less than 7 km distance of the Citlaltepetl crater. The young Citlaltepetl and
the old Tliltepetl nowadays constitute a joint geological structure.
The 100th anniversary volume of the bulletin of the Mexican Geological Society
contains a review of the geology and eruptive history of some of the most
important Mexican volcanoes, including Pico de Orizaba. A more specific
recent work on the geology of Citlaltepetl is contained in the thesis of Andrea
Rossotti. Pico de Orizaba is the main peak in the volcanic chain going
from Cofre de Perote to Las Cumbres, Pico de Orizaba and Sierra Negra.
This chain is part of the "Faja Volcanica Transmexicana", a series of volcanic
chains in the 2 km high plateau of central Mexico, which itself covers a
sizeable fraction of the Mexican territory and population of the country.
Citlaltepetl stands some 3 km above this plateau, and over 4 km relative to. The saddle between
both mountains clearly shows above the inversion layer.
The lava tongue descending
from Pico de Orizaba towards Sierra Negra, with a deposition of
alluvions at its base, is the most noticeable red feature.
the Eastern low lands of Veracruz.
Citlaltepetl has a complex eruptive history dating back to the formation
of the cone of Torrecillas, 650,000 years ago. The present Pico de Orizaba
volcano formed about 16,500 years ago inside a previous structure known as
Espolon de Oro.
According to Sierra Negra is an older structure formed
through two episodes of activity, the first 600,000 years ago and the second,
named the ”Orizaba episode”, some 240,000 years ago.
Three major explosive events occurring 4,100 years ago are related to
the destruction of a mountain dome and the formation of the present crater,
formed by a symmetric oval crater of 500m×400m . An impressive ”lava
tongue” spanning 4 km SW in the
direction of Sierra Negra is the result of a more recent episode of activity
dated 1566. Most recent minor activity episodes occurred in the XVI
century, although minor activity has been reported from time to time and
the volcano is now considered as active in a period of quietness .
Nowadays Citlaltepetl presents weak SO2 exhalations and low level tremors.
Seismological monitoring is performed by station of the CENAPRED
The Parque Nacional Pico de Orizaba was established by a presidential
decree of December 16, 1936, signed by L´azaro C´ardenas.
Video climbing el Pico de Orizaba, clic on the picture up
Legend - Name
mountain of the stars” in Nahuatl language,
The Aztecs believed that the divine fire from Orizaba's crater consumed a great winged serpent, Quetzalcoatl. Then Quetzalcoatl, the god of learning and the priesthood, took the form of a man and sailed across the sea, swearing to return and seek vengeance on the Aztec nation.
From the summit there is an excellent view of other mountains, such as, Iztaccihuatl, Popocatépetl (an active volcano,) la Malinche, and Cofre de Perote.
The base shelter can be reached using 4x4´s to weave through a forest of coniferous trees. Above the shelter there is a an area that is ideal for camping for those who require greater acclimatisation to altitudes exceeding 4000 m. By way of the north route the ascent crosses a glacier known as Jamapa, which leads to the crater. From the crater it is necessary to ascend to the summit by circling the cone-shaped apex.
Pico de Orizaba , photos and video Guillermo Vidales (Huracan)