Popocatépetl is an active volcano and, at 5,426 m (17,800 ft), the second highest peak in Mexico after the Pico de Orizaba (5,636 m/18,490 ft).
Popocatépetl is linked to the Iztaccíhuatl volcano to the north by the high saddle known as the Paso de Cortés, and lies in the eastern half of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt.
The name Popocatépetl comes from the Nahuatl words popōca 'it smokes' and tepētl 'mountain', thus Smoking Mountain; the name Don Goyo comes from the mountain's association in the lore of the region with San Gregorio (St. Gregory), "Goyo" being a nickname-like short form of Gregorio.
Popocatépetl is 70 km (43 mi) southeast of Mexico City, from where it can be seen regularly, depending on atmospheric conditions. The residents of Puebla, a mere 40 km (25 mi) east of the volcano, enjoy the views of the snowy and glacier-clad mountain almost all year long. The volcano is also one of the three tall peaks in Mexico to contain glaciers, the others being Iztaccíhuatl and Pico de Orizaba. Magma erupted from Popocatépetl is a mixture of dacite (65 wt% SiO2, two-pyroxenes + plagioclase + Fe–Ti oxides + apatite, 3 wt% H2O, P = 1.5 kbar, fO2 = NNO + 0.5 log units) and basaltic andesite (53 wt% SiO2, olivine + two-pyroxenes, 3 wt% H2O, P = 1–4 kbar).
The first Spanish ascent of the volcano was made by an expedition led by Diego de Ordaz in 1519. The early 16th-century monasteries on the slopes of the mountain are a World Heritage Site.
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