Pico de Orizaba is an inactive stratovolcano on the southern edge of the Mexican Plateau. It is home to the largest glacier in Mexico, Gran Glaciar Norte. Pico de Orizaba National Park protects the volcano and the surrounding area.
Pico de Orizaba
Pico de Orizaba is an inactive stratovolcano located on the southern edge of the Mexican Plateau, approximately 100 km (60 mi) east of Puebla, on the border between the Mexican states of Veracruz and Puebla. The volcano, also known as Citlaltépetl, has been dormant since 1846; however, it is not considered extinct.
Rising 5,675 m (18,620 ft) above sea level on the eastern end of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt that extends east-west across the country, Pico de Orizaba is both the highest peak in Mexico and the tallest volcano in North America.
The last eruption of Pico de Orizaba took place in 1846. However, geologists continue to investigate the potential hazards associated with a renewal of activity.
In 1839, Henri Galeotti was the first European to explore the volcano but did not hike to the summit. During the American occupation of Mexico in 1848, two American soldiers were the first known hikers to reach the summit.
The volcano blocks moisture and influences the climate of central Mexico. The states of Veracruz and Puebla depend on Pico de Orizaba to supply fresh water. The largest river originating from the volcano is the Jamapa River.
The mountain was important in pre-Hispanic cultures, and the volcano is part of many native mythologies.
Pico de Orizaba is home to the largest glacier in Mexico, Gran Glaciar Norte. Glaciar Oriental flows down from the east summit cone.
On the mountain's north side, the Gran Glaciar Norte fills the elongated highland basin and is the source of seven outlet glaciers.
The two main glaciers and seven outlet glaciers are as follows:
- Gran Glaciar Norte
- Lengua del Chichimeco
- Glaciar Oriental
Sierra Negra (Cerro La Negra) is an extinct volcano southwest of nearby Pico de Orizaba. With a summit elevation of 4,580 m (15,030 ft) above sea level, it is the fifth-highest peak in Mexico.
Pico de Orizaba National Park
On December 16, 1936, President Lázaro Cárdenas, to protect the natural beauty of Pico de Orizaba, created a national park with an area of 19,750 ha (48,800 acres) that included the volcano and the surrounding area along with the settlements of Tlachichuca, Ciudad Serdán, La Perla, Mariano Escobedo, and Calcahualco.
The prominent peaks and glaciers of Pico de Orizaba