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Glacier retreat during the recent eruptive period of Popocaté petl volcano, Mexico

  • Nuria Andrés (a1), Josè J. Zamorano (a2), Josè J. Sanjosé (a3), Alan Atkinson (a3) and David Palacios (a1)...

Abstract

Popocatépetl (19°02’ N, 98°62’W; 5424 m) is one of the largest active stratovolcanoes in the Transmexican Volcanic Belt. A glacier located on the north side has undergone severe ablation since the volcano reinitiated eruptive activity in December 1994. In our study, we calculate the extent of the glacier recession and the loss in glacial mass balance during the period of greatest laharic activity (1994–2002), using photogrammetric treatment of 20 pairs of aerial photographs. The results indicate that from November 1997 to December 2002, the glacier released approximately 3 967 000 m3 of water. A period of intense glacier melting occurred from 4 November 2000 to 15 March 2001 during which time 717 000 m3 of water was released. Much of the melting was attributed to the pyroclastic flow that took place on 22 January 2001 and produced a 14.2 km lahar with 68 000 m3 of water. Among the many types of volcanic events, pyroclastic flows were the most effective in causing sudden snowmelt, although small explosions were also effective since they deposited incandescent material on the glacier. The collapse of the plinian columns covered the glacier with pyroclasts and increased its volume. The existence of control points for georeferencing and a knowledge of the topography underlying the glacier previous to the eruption would have provided more accurate and useful results for hazard prevention.

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References

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Glacier retreat during the recent eruptive period of Popocaté petl volcano, Mexico

  • Nuria Andrés (a1), Josè J. Zamorano (a2), Josè J. Sanjosé (a3), Alan Atkinson (a3) and David Palacios (a1)...

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