The Cuexcomate volcano, in a suburb of the city of Puebla, is generally considered to be the world’s smallest volcano.
Weighing in at an estimated 40 metric tons, it stands just 13 meters (43 feet) tall, with a reach (diameter) of 23 meters (75 feet). The name Cuexcomate derives from the Nahuatl Cuexcomac which means bowl or place for keeping things.
Mexico has thousands of volcanoes, and many very interesting ones, but Cuexcomate must surely be the only volcano in the country with a spiral staircase inside it! The volcano formed in 1664, as an offshoot parasitic cone during an eruption of a much larger volcano, Popocatépetl.
Cuexcomate is officially classified as “inactive”, considered highly unlikely to burst into renewed activity. However, local residents are quite concerned, since Popocatépetl has been increasingly active over the past few years, leading to several temporary evacuations of the villages around its base. If Popocatépetl were to erupt violently again, they believe that perhaps the subterranean link to Cuexcomate would be re-established and the world’s smallest volcano might suddenly become somewhat larger…
Let’s hope that never happens. It would bring an end to one of the more unusual tourist attractions in this part of Mexico. Climbing down a spiral staircase into claustrophobic darkness is hardly an everyday experience for a tourist, or indeed for a vulcanologist. The crater is about eight meters across. Once inside, there is not much to see, frankly, apart from the inevitable lava.
Cuexcomate volcano is located in the residential suburb of La Libertad, at the junction of streets 3a Norte and 4a Poniente.
Visitors to Puebla, a city that offers a complete range of tourist services, generally spend most of their time in the region’s archaeological sites, colonial buildings and stores. Next time you’re there, why not add some variety by taking in the world’s smallest volcano?
The world’s smallest active volcano is probably Mount Taal, located near the city of Tagaytay in the Philippines. It is a positively gargantuan 508 meters (1,660 feet) high, more than thirty-nine times the height of Cuexcomate, its Lilliputian cousin.
Puebla offers a complete range of tourist services; Cuexcomate is relatively close to several good hotels, including the luxurious Puebla Marriott Real Hotel, at Avenida Hermanos Serdán #807, where the service and cuisine are always first-rate. (Tel: 011-52 (222) 223-8300)
© Copyright 2004 by Tony Burton. All rights reserved.