Science Spotlight

Station POPO

Researcher: Sara Ivonne Franco Sanchez

View of the GPS permanent station at Popocatepetl volcano.

Name: Popocatepetl
State: Mexico
Country: Mexico
Elevation: 4002.6 m
Lat/Long:  19.067 / -98.628

Popocatepetl Volcano

In the language of Nahuatl, Popocatepetl means a smoking mountain." This volcano is at an elevation of 5450 m and it sits approximately 70 km southeast of Mexico's capital. It represents a great hazard for both the capital and the closer city of Puebla. Many times in the past, the ash produced by eruptions from Popocatepetl has generated significant logistical problems, causing heath concerns and aircraft hazards.

In May 2013, Popocatepetl volcano awoke again. In order to monitor crustal deformation due to the volcano, the Seismological National Service of Mexico(SSN), established a GPS permanent station near the volcano's crater. It is collocated with the broadband seismological observatory.

This last eruptive period is still ongoing and we're ready to use this data to better understand what is happening in the magma chamber of the volcano. The POPO station belongs to the larger continuously-operating UNAM-IGEF GPS network. This network currently has over 20 real-time stations which are sampling at 1 Hz. They are distributed throughout the country, but principally on Mexico's Pacific coast. The POPO station is also sensitive to episodic tremor and slip events.

Figure 1. Popocatépetl Volcano. Photo credit: Wikipedia.

Figure 3. Mauricio, the other part of the GPS team, coming back from the POPO station.


Figure 2. Distribution of the GPS permanent stations of SSN-IGEF-UNAM network. The star represents the location of POPO station. Many of the sites are close to the large cities of Puebla (>2 million people) and Mexico City (population >8 million).

Last modified: 2019-12-26  16:24:50  America/Denver  


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