Skip to main content

Seismic activity related to the 1991 eruption of Colima Volcano, Mexico

Abstract

Ten years after the last effusive eruption and at least 15 years of seismic quiescence, volcanic seismic activity started at Colima volcano on 14 February 1991, with a seismic crisis which reached counts of more than 100 per day and showed a diversity of earthquake types. Four other distinct seismic crises followed, before a mild effusive eruption in April 1991. The second crisis preceded the extrusion of an andesitic scoriaceous lava lobe, first reported on 1 March; during this crisis an interesting temporary concentration of seismic foci below the crater was observed shortly before the extrusion was detected. The third crisis was constituted by shallow seismicity, featuring possible mild degassing explosion-induced activity in the form of hiccups (episodes of simple wavelets that repeat with diminishing amplitude), and accompanied by increased fumarolic activity. The growth of the new lava dome was accompanied by changing seismicity. On 16 April during the fifth crisis which consisted of some relatively large, shallow, volcanic earthquakes and numerous avalanches of older dome material, part of the newly extruded dome, which had grown towards the edge of the old dome, collapsed, producing the largest avalanches and ash flows. Afterwards, block lava began to flow slowly along the SW flank of the volcano, generating frequent small incandescent avalanches. The seismicity associated with the stages of this eruptive activity shows some interesting features: most earthquake foci were located north of the summit, some of them relatively deep (7–11 km below the summit level), underneath the saddle between the Colima and the older Nevado volcanoes. An apparently seismic quiet region appears between 4 and 7 km below the summit level. In June, harmonic tremors were detected for the first time, but no changes in the eruptive activity could be correlated with them. After June, the seismicity decreasing trend was established, and the effusive activity stopped on September 1991.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Bourgois J, Renard D, Auboin J, Bandy W, Barrier E, Calmus T, Carfantan JC, Guerrero J, Mammerickx J, Mercier de Lepinay B, Michaud F, Sosson R (1988) Fragmentation en cours du bord Ouest du Continent Nord Americain: Les frontières sous-marines du Bloc Jalisco (Mexique). C R Acad Sci Paris 307 (II):1121–1133

    Google Scholar 

  2. Castellanos AG, Ornelas G, Ramírez A, Reyes G, Herrera J, Pérez JC, Tamez H, De la Cruz-Reyna S, Espíndola JM, Jiménez Z, Mena M (1989) Desarrollo de una red sismológica elemétrica para la vigilancia del Volcán de Colima. Geos 9 (3):221–227

    Google Scholar 

  3. De la Cruz-Reyna S (1993) Random patterns of activity of Colima Volcano, Mexico. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 55:51–68

    Google Scholar 

  4. Esteva L (1976) Seismicity. In: Lomnitz C, Rosenblueth E (eds) Seismic risk and engineering decisions. Elsevier Pub, Amsterdam: 179–224

    Google Scholar 

  5. Flores J (1987) Las erupciones del volcán de Colima, Cuadernos de difusión científica, Serie Instituto de Geografia y Estadística, Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico 10:1–52

    Google Scholar 

  6. GVN (1991a) Colima (Mexico) earthquake swarm and increased seismic activity Bull Global Volcanism Network, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC 6 (1):7

    Google Scholar 

  7. GVN (1991b) Colima (Mexico) Lava extrusion onto summit dome after increased seismicity and fumarolic activity; fish kill in nearby lakes. Bull Global Voleanism Network, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC 16 (2):2–3

    Google Scholar 

  8. GVN (1991c) Colima (Mexico) Partial collapse of summit lava dome and crater rim, with associated avalanches and explosions. Bull Global Volcanism Network, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC 16 (3):9

    Google Scholar 

  9. GVN (1991d) Colima (Mexico) Lava advances down SW flank after partial collapse of summit dome; rock avalanches from flow margins. Bull Global Volcanism Network, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC 16 (4):7–8

    Google Scholar 

  10. GVN (1991e) Colima (Mexico) Continued lava dome growth; increased avalanching follows earthquakes and tremor episodes. Bull Global Volcanism Network, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC 16 (5):19–20

    Google Scholar 

  11. GVN (1991f) Colima (Mexico) Avalanching from summit dome; flank lava flow continues to advance; April tephra flow mapped margins. Bull Global Volcanism Network, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC 16 (6):9–10

    Google Scholar 

  12. GVN (1991g) Colima (Mexico) Block lava flow; new dome lobe; seismicity Bull Global Volcanism Network, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC 16 (7):9

    Google Scholar 

  13. GVN (1992) Colima (Mexico) Bull Global Volcanism Network, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC 17 (6):15–17

    Google Scholar 

  14. Jiménez Z, González L, Espíndola JM, Castellanos G, Herrera J, Ornélas G, Péra J, Reyes G, Ramírez A, Tamez H (1989) Actividad sísmica registrada en la Región del Volcán de Colima durante dos campañas realizadas en los años de 1987 y 1988. GEOS 9:213–220

    Google Scholar 

  15. Lee W, Lahr J (1978) HYPO71 (revised): a computer program for determining hypocenter magnitude and first motion pattern of local earthquakes. US Geol Surv Open-File Report 75–311:59 pp

  16. Lesage P, De la Cruz-Reyna S (1992) La primera estación inclinométrica del Volcán de Fuego de Colima. Tercera Reunión Nacional “Volcán de Colima” y Segunda Reunión Internacional de Vulcanología, 1/1992, Colima, Col, Resúmenes:7

  17. Luhr J, Prestegaard K (1988) Caldera formation at Volcan Colima, Mexico, by a large Holocene volcanic debris avalanche. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 35:335–348

    Google Scholar 

  18. Luhr J, Carmichael I (1990) Geology of Volcan de Colima. Boletín del Instituto de Geología, UNAM 107:101 pp

  19. Luhr J, Nelson S, Allan J, Carmichael I (1985) Active rifting in southwestern Mexico: manifestations of an incipient eastward spreading-ridge jump. Geology 13:54–57

    Google Scholar 

  20. McNutt SR (1986) Observations and analysis of B-type earthquakes, explosions, and volcanic tremor at Pavlov volcano, Alaska. Bull Seism Soc Am 76:153–175

    Google Scholar 

  21. Medina F (1983) Analysis of the eruptive history of the Volcan de Colima, Mexico (1560–1980). Geofis int 22:157–168

    Google Scholar 

  22. Medina F (1985) On the volcanic activity and large earthquakes in Colima area, Mexico. Geofis Int 24:701–708

    Google Scholar 

  23. Minakami T (1960) Fundamental research for predicting volcanic eruption. (Part I) Bull Earthq Res Inst 38:479–544

    Google Scholar 

  24. Minakami T (1974) Seismology of volcanoes in Japan. In: Civetta L, Gasparini P, Luongo G, Rapolla A (eds) Physical Volcanology. Developments in Solid Earth Geophysics 6, Elsevier, Scientific Publishing, Amsterdam:1–27

    Google Scholar 

  25. Mooser F (1958) Active volcanoes of Mexico. in: Catalog of active volcanoes of the world, IAVCEI, Rome 6:2–36

    Google Scholar 

  26. Mooser F (1961) Los volcanes de Colima. Boletín del Instituto de Geología, UNAM 61:49–71

    Google Scholar 

  27. Montalto A, Distefano G, Patane G (1992) Seismic patterns and fluid-dynamic features preceding and accompanying the January 15, 1990 eruptive paroxysm on Mt Etna (Italy). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 51:133–143

    Google Scholar 

  28. Nava A, Núñez-Cornú F, Ramírez A, Jiménez Z, Saucedo R, Tamez H, Ornelas G (1991) La erupción del 16 de abríl de 1991 del Volcán de Colima: historia gráfica del inicio de la erupción. Tercera Reunión Nacional “Volcán de Colima” y Segunda Reunión Internacional de Vulcanología, 1/1991, Colima, Col, Resúmenes:27

  29. Nava F (1992) Interactive local earthquake location on PC. Computers & Geosciences 18:627–664

    Google Scholar 

  30. Núñez-Cornú F, Jiménez Z, Nava F, Castellanos G, Reyes G, Ramírez A, Taméz H, Ornelas G, Márquez B, Calderón G (1990) Estudio de la litósfera en la Región de Colima. Primera Reunión Internacional de Vulcanología Colima, Col Enero 1990

  31. Robin C, Mossand P, Camus G, Cantagrel J, Gourgaud A, Vincent P (1987) Eruptive history of the Colima Volcania Complex (Mexico). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 31:99–113

    Google Scholar 

  32. Rodríguez-Elizarrarás S, Siebe C, Komorowsky JC, Espindola JM, Saucedo R (1991) Field observations of pristine block and ash flow deposits emplaced April 16–17, 1991 at Volcán de Colima, Mexico. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 50 (3/4):399–412

    Google Scholar 

  33. Núñez-Cornú F, Jiménez Z, Nava F, Castellanos G, Reyes G, Ramírez A, Taméz H, Ornelas G, Marquez B, Calderón G (1990) Estudio de la litósfera en la Región de Colima. Primera Reunión Internacional de Vulcanología Colima, Col Enero 1990

  34. Robin C, Mossand P, Camus G, Cantagrel J, Gourgaud A, Vincent P (1987) Eruptive history of the Colima Volcanic Complex (Mexico). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 31:99–113

    Google Scholar 

  35. Rodríguez-Elizarrarás S, Siebe C, Komorowsky JC, Espíndola JM, Saucedo R (1991) Field observations of pristine block and ash flow deposits emplaced April 16–17, 1991 at Volcán de Colima, Mexico. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 50 (3/4):399–412

    Google Scholar 

  36. SEAN (1987) Colima (Mexico): Large avalanche from summit lava dome; small A-type events. 12 (7):2

    Google Scholar 

  37. Verma S (1985) Mexican Volcanic Belt (preface). Geof Int 24 (1):7–19

    Google Scholar 

  38. Warren NW, Latham G (1970) An experimental study of thermally induced microfracturing and its relation to volcanic seismicity. J Geophys Res 75 (23):4455–4464

    Google Scholar 

  39. Williams S, De la Cruz-Reyna S, Núñez-Cornú F, Sano Y, Sturchio N (1991) Eruption of Colima Volcano 1991 (Feb–June) Geol Soc Am Meeting. San Diego, CA, USA, Oct 1991

  40. Yokoyama I (1988) Seismic energy releases from volcanoes. Bull Volcanol 50:1–13

    Google Scholar 

  41. Yokoyama I, De la Cruz-Reyna S, Espíndola JM (1992) Energy partition of the 1982 eruption of El Chichon volcano, Chiapas, Mexico. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 51:1–21

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Francisco Núñez-Cornú.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Núñez-Cornú, F., Nava, F.A., De la Cruz-Reyna, S. et al. Seismic activity related to the 1991 eruption of Colima Volcano, Mexico. Bull Volcanol 56, 228–237 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00279608

Download citation

Key words

  • Colima Volcano
  • Mexico
  • volcanic earthquakes
  • harmonic tremors
  • volcanic hazard
  • monitoring of volcanos
  • correlation of eruptive and seismic activities