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Pico de Orizaba

the highest peak in Mexico

Pico de Orizaba, from the north
Pico de Orizaba, from the north

Rising 18,491 feet above the border between the states of Veracruz and Puebla, Pico de Orizaba is the highest peak in Mexico, the third highest peak in North America, and the highest volcano in North America. With a prominence of 16,148 feet, it is also the seventh most prominent mountain in the world.

location of Pico de Orizaba

Pico de Orizaba is one of only three volcanoes in México to support glaciers, including Gran Glacier Norte, the largest glacier in Mexico.

Vegetation varies from tropical at the lower elevations on the eastern face to alpine forests in the higher elevations. The eastern face is frequently covered by fog and low cloud cover.

Orizaba formed in three stages in the Pleistocene Epoch over a million years ago. Although it has not erupted since 1846, it is not dormant. The volcano is part of many native mythologies. The Aztecs called it Citlaltpetl, which means "Star Mountain." The name Orizaba comes from a nearby town and the valley south of the peak, both of which get their names from a Spanish transcription of Ahuilizapa, which translates to “Place of the Playing Water.” Although the peak was undoubtedly ascended long before the Spanish conquests, the first recorded ascent was made during the American occupation of Mexico in 1848, by American soldiers F. Maynard and William F. Raynolds.

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The Robinson Library >> American History >> Mexico >> Regions, States, Etc.

This page was last updated on 06/18/2017.