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An analysis of the seismic activity of Popocatépetl Volcano, Mexico, associated with the eruptive period of December 2002 to February 2003: Looking for precursors

By
A. Quezada-Reyes
A. Quezada-Reyes
Department of Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, New Mexico 87801, USA, and Servicio Sismológico Nacional, Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México D.F. 04510, México
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P. Lesage
P. Lesage
ISTerre, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), IRD: R 219, Université de Savoie, 73376 Le Bourget-du-Lac, France
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C. Valdés-González
C. Valdés-González
Servicio Sismológico Nacional, Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México D.F. 04510, México
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L. Perrier
L. Perrier
ISTerre, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), IRD: R 219, Université de Savoie, 73376 Le Bourget-du-Lac, France
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Published:
November 01, 2013

Since it reactivated in 1994, Popocatépetl Volcano has undergone cycles of formation and destruction of several lava domes. This surface activity is generally associated with increasing seismic activity before the explosions that destroy the domes. We carried out a comprehensive analysis of seismic records from November 2002 to February 2003 in order to identify precursors of a series of explosive events. We obtained daily numbers of volcano-tectonic earthquakes and long-period events, as well as daily tremor duration. Spectral features of the long-period events and tremors were calculated, and high-frequency precursory signals of the long-period events were studied. No clear variations of these characteristics of the seismicity could be detected before the eruptions.

Real-time Seismic Amplitude Measurements (RSAM) calculations show that, besides small fluctuations related to the explosions, the rate of seismic energy released was quite stable during the studied period. Minor short-lived variations of RSAM levels were observed before only five of eighteen eruptions, with no accelerating release of energy. It is thus quite difficult to identify reliable seismic precursors during the eruptive sequence. This situation is probably related to the open state of the system and has important implications for future risk assessment regarding this volcano.

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GSA Special Papers

Understanding Open-Vent Volcanism and Related Hazards

William I. Rose
William I. Rose
Geological Engineering & Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan 49931, USA
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José Luis Palma
José Luis Palma
Departamento de Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad de Concepción, Victor Lamas 1290, Concepción, Chile
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Hugo Delgado Granados
Hugo Delgado Granados
Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Circuito Científico, C.U. Coyoacán 04510, México, D.F.
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Nick Varley
Nick Varley
Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Colima, Avenida Universidad 333, Colonia Las Víboras, C.P. 28040, Colima, México
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Geological Society of America
Volume
498
ISBN print:
9780813724980
Publication date:
November 01, 2013

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