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Temporal and spectral characteristics of seismicity observed at Popocatepetl volcano, central Mexico

January 1, 2000

Popocatepetl volcano entered an eruptive phase from December 21, 1994 to March 30, 1995, which was characterized by ash and fumarolic emissions. During this eruptive episode, the observed seismicity consisted of volcano-tectonic (VT) events, long-period (LP) events and sustained tremor. Before the initial eruption on December 21, VT seismicity exhibited no increase in number until a swarm of VT earthquakes was observed at 01:31 hours local time. Visual observations of the eruption occurred at dawn the next morning. LP activity increased from an average of 7 events a day in October 1994 to 22 events per day in December 1994. At the onset of the eruption, LP activity peaked at 49 events per day. LP activity declined until mid-January 1995 when no events were observed. Tremor was first observed about one day after the initial eruption and averaged 10 h per episode. By late February 1995, tremor episodes became more intermittent, lasting less than 5 min, and the number of LP events returned to pre-eruption levels (7 events per day). Using a spectral ratio technique, low-frequency oceanic microseismic noise with a predominant peak around 7 s was removed from the broadband seismic signal of tremor and LP events. Stacks of corrected tremor episodes and LP events show that both tremor and LP events contain similar frequency features with major peaks around 1.4 Hz. Frequency analyses of LP events and tremor suggest a shallow extended source with similar radiation pattern characteristics. The distribution of VT events (between 2.5 and 10 km) also points to a shallow source of the tremor and LP events located in the first 2500 m beneath the crater. Under the assumption that the frequency characteristics of the signals are representative of an oscillator we used a fluid-filled-crack model to infer the length of the resonator.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2000
Title Temporal and spectral characteristics of seismicity observed at Popocatepetl volcano, central Mexico
DOI 10.1016/S0377-0273(00)00188-8
Authors A. Arciniega-Ceballos, C. Valdes-Gonzalez, P. Dawson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Series Number
Index ID 70022420
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization