Diffusion chronometry has produced petrological evidence that magma recharge in mafic to intermediate systems can trigger volcanic eruptions within weeks to months. However, less is known about longer-term recharge frequencies and durations priming magma reservoirs for eruptions. We use Fe-Mg diffusion modeling in orthopyroxene to show that the duration, frequency, and timing of pre-eruptive recharge at Popocatépetl volcano (Mexico) vary systematically with eruption style and magnitude. Effusive eruptions are preceded by 9–13 yr of increased recharge activity, compared to 15–100 yr for explosive eruptions. Explosive eruptions also record a higher number of individual recharge episodes priming the plumbing system. The largest explosive eruptions are further distinguished by an ~1 yr recharge hiatus directly prior to eruption. Our results offer valuable context for the interpretation of ongoing activity at Popocatépetl, and seeking similar correlations at other arc volcanoes may advance eruption forecasting by including constraints on potential eruption size and style.

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