Nahuatl words popōca [poˈpoːka] 'it smokes' and tepētl [ˈtepeːt͡ɬ] 'mountain', meaning Smoking Mountain. The volcano is also referred to by Mexicans as El Popo. The alternate nickname 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 (Spanish [popoka'tepetl̩] [popoːkaˈtepeːt͡ɬ]) is an active volcano, located in the states of Puebla, State of Mexico, and Morelos, in Central Mexico, and lies in the eastern half of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. At 5,426 m (17,802 ft) it is the second highest peak in Mexico, after the Pico de Orizaba at 5,636 m (18,491 ft).
It is linked to the Iztaccihuatl volcano to the north by the high saddle known as the Paso de Cortés.
Popocatepetl is 70 km (43 mi) southeast of Mexico City, from where it can be seen regularly, depending on atmospheric conditions. Until recently, the volcano was one of three tall peaks in Mexico to contain glaciers, the others being Iztaccihuatl and Pico de Orizaba. In the 1990s, the glaciers such as Glaciar Norte (North Glacier) greatly decreased in size, partly due to warmer temperatures but largely due to increased volcanic activity. By early 2001, Popocatepetl's glaciers had become extinct; ice remained on the volcano, but no longer displayed the characteristic features of glaciers such as crevasses.
Magma erupting from Popocatepetl has historically been predominantly andesitic, but it has also erupted large volumes of dacite. Magma produced in the current cycle of activity tends to be a mixture of the two.
(Courtesy of: Wikipedia)
istakˈsiwatɬ or, as spelled with the x, [iʃtakˈsiwatɬ]), is a 5,230 m (17,160 ft) dormant volcanic mountain in Mexico. It is the nation's third highest, after Pico de Orizaba 5,636 m (18,491 ft) and Popocatépetl 5,426 m (17,802 ft).
The name "Iztaccíhuatl" is Nahuatl for "White woman", reflecting the four individual snow-capped peaks which depict the head, chest, knees and feet of a sleeping female when seen from east or west.
Iztaccíhuatl lies to the north of Popocatépetl, to which it is connected by the high altitude Paso de Cortés. Depending on atmospheric conditions the dormant volcano is visible much of the year from Mexico City some 70 km (43 mi) to the northwest.
The first recorded ascent was made in 1889, though archaeological evidence suggests the Aztecs and previous cultures climbed it previously. It is the lowest peak containing permanent snow and glaciers in Mexico.
The summit ridge of the massive 450 km3 (110 cu mi) volcano is a series of overlapping cones constructed along a NNW-SSE line to the south of the Pleistocene Llano Grande caldera. Andesitic and dacitic Pleistocene and Holocene volcanism has taken place from vents at or near the summit. Areas near the El Pecho summit vent are covered in flows and tuff beds post-dating glaciation approximately 11 ka (thousand years ago). The most recent vents are located at El Pecho and a depression at 5,100 m (16,700 ft) along the summit ridge midway between that summit and Los Pies
In Aztec mythology, Iztaccíhuatl was a princess who fell in love with one of her father's warriors, Popocatépetl. The emperor sent Popocatépetl to war in Oaxaca, promising him Iztaccíhuatl as his wife when he returned (which Iztaccíhuatl's father presumed he would not). Iztaccíhuatl was falsely told Popocatépetl had died in battle, and believing the news, she died of grief. When Popocatépetl returned to find his love dead, he took her body to a spot outside Tenochtitlan and kneeled by her grave. The gods covered them with snow and changed them into mountains. Iztaccíhuatl's mountain is called "White Woman" (from the nahuatl iztac "white" and cihuatl "woman") because it resembles a woman lying on her back, and is often covered with snow. (The peak is sometimes nicknamed La Mujer Dormida ("The Sleeping Woman".) Popocatépetl became an active volcano, raining fire on Earth in blind rage at the loss of his beloved.
The Legend of Popocatépetl
Iztaccíhuatl's father sent Popocatepetl to war in Oaxaca, promising him his daughter as his wife if he returned (which Iztaccíhuatl's father presumed he would not). Iztaccíhuatl's father told her that her lover had fallen in battle and she died of grief. When Popocatépetl returned, and discovered the death of his lover, he committed suicide by plunging a dagger through his heart. God covered them with snow and changed them into mountains. Iztac cíhuatl's mountain was called "La Mujer Dormida, (the "Sleeping Woman"), because it bears a resemblance to a woman sleeping on her back. Popocatépetl became the volcano Popocatépetl, raining fire on Earth in blind rage at the loss of his beloved.
A different tale was told by the Nahuatl-speakers of Tetelcingo, Morelos, according to whom Iztaccíhuatl (or Istācsohuātl, as they pronounce the name) was the wife of Popo, but Xinantécatl wanted her, and he and Popocatepetl hurled rocks at each other in anger. This was the genesis of the rocky mountain ranges of the continental divide and the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt that lie between the two mountains. Finally Popocatepetl, in a burst of rage, flung an enormous chunk of ice, decapitating the Nevado de Toluca. This is why the Nevado is flat-topped, with wide shoulders but no head. Conceivably this legend preserves the memory of catastrophic eruptions. (Pittman 1954:59)
The most popular legend about Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl comes from the ancient Náhuas. As it comes from an oral tradition, there are many versions of the same story, along with poems and songs telling this story:
Many years before Cortés came to Mexico, the Aztecs lived in Tenochtitlán, today's Mexico City. The chief of the Aztecs was a famous Emperor, who was loved by all the natives. The Emperor and his wife, the Empress, were very worried because they had no children. One day the Empress said to the Emperor that she was going to give birth to a child. A baby girl was born and she was as beautiful as her mother. They called her Iztaccíhuatl, which in Náhuatl means "white lady".
All the natives loved Izta and her parents prepared her to be the Empress of the Aztecs. When she grew up, she fell in love with a captain of a tribe, his name was Popoca.
One day, a war broke out and the warriors had to go south to fight the enemy. The Emperor told Popoca that he had to bring the head of the enemy chief back from the war, so he could marry his daughter.
After several months of combat, a warrior who hated Popoca sent a false message to the Emperor. The message said that his army had won the war, but that Popoca had died in battle. The Emperor was very sad when he heard the news, and when Izta heard she could not stop crying. She refused to go out and did not eat any more. A few days later, she became ill and she died of sadness.
When the Emperor was preparing Izta's funeral, Popoca and his warriors arrived victorious from war. The Emperor was taken aback when he saw Popoca, and he told him that other warriors had announced his death. Then, he told him that Izta had died.
Popoca was very sad. He took Izta's body and left the town. He walked a long way until he arrived at some mountains where he ordered his warriors to build a funeral table with flowers and he put Izta lying on top. Then he kneeled down to watch over Izta and died of sadness too.
The Gods were touched by Popoca's sacrifice and turned the tables and the bodies into great volcanoes. The biggest volcano is Popocatépetl, which in Náhuatl means "smoking mountain". He sometimes throws out smoke, showing that he is still watching over Iztaccíhuatl, who sleeps by his side.
Another tale is much like the one before: Some warriors did not want Popoca to be with Izta, since they liked her themselves, and sent a message to the emperor saying that Popoca died; Izta became very sad and died of grief. When Popoca returned, he heard about Izta's death and became sad himself. He went out of town with Izta's body and ordered his soldiers to make a mound for him and Izta. He put Izta's body on one mound and got onto the other with a smoking torch. He remains there forever, looking after Izta, and, as time passed, dirt, snow, rocks, and Mother Nature covered them, turning them into great mountains. Popoca's torch is still smoking as a reminder of what happened.
(Courtesy of: Wikipedia)