It is sponsored by the, Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the, EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. Smaller explosions, calculated to have begun at 0312, generated acoustic waves and a single gravity wave that were received near Dallas for 10 minutes. Chemical characteristics of the crater lakes of Popocatepetl, El Chichon, and Nevado de Toluca volcanoes, Mexico. A light ashfall occurred in Houston during the night of 7-8 April and samples were collected for analysis by NASA geologists. To validate the results, computer simulations were first performed over pre-1982 topography mimicking the extent of the actual deposits produced and afterwards run over post-1982 topography. Tephra falls were very heavy near the volcano, forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes, and causing major damage to crops and livestock. A magnitude 3 earthquake centered 20 km NE of El Chichón occurred 28 September at 0956 GMT. Acoustic data recorded by Teledyne Geotech indicated that explosions probably occurred every 2-3 minutes, generating a few initial gravity waves and a complex series of acoustic waves that continued for 48 minutes. The 1982 eruptions of El Chichon volcano, Mexico: stratigraphy of pyroclastic deposits. A feature similar to Bishop's Ring was observed 17 May and windrows of aerosol moved over Tucson later that afternoon. Felt earthquakes were also reported early 4 April. A Bishop's Ring was first seen from Houston, Texas on 11 April and has been intermittently visible since. J. Volcanol. We made several visits to the crater. The Bulletin staff received numerous photographs of currently non-eruptive El Chichón from amateur photographer King Freeland; a few are included below. To try to reduce local alarm, J.L. The largest eruption killed many people in and near the village of Francisco León (~ 5 km SW of the summit), but initial reports that all of its residents died were incorrect, according to an American missionary who had lived in the village for many years. During field work at El Chichón between December 1980 and February 1981, more than 1 year before the eruption, Rene Canul heard loud noises and felt small earthquakes near the central dome, and could also feel some events while on the flanks of the volcano. Today marks the 30th anniversary of one of the most important volcanic events of the 20th century -- the eruption of El Chichón in Mexico. Information Contacts: S. de la Cruz-Reyna, UNAM. Vapor was emitted from 6-8 vents distributed around the shore and churning of the lake water indicated that gases were also emerging from sources beneath its surface. . El Chichón is located in a heavily forested mountainous area in Chiapas, 670 km ESE of México City. Distal sections consist of three airfall layers whereas proximal sections include pyroclastic flows. Little new vegetation could be seen on the volcano and 1ahar deposits were evident in stream valleys. The crater lake, which had recovered to November 1982 levels by November 1990, was turquoise-blue and had at least two large zones of intense surface effervescence as described by Casadevall and others (1984). Long windrows of aerosol were visible, similar to the phenomenon seen after the 1976 Augustine eruption. Fumarolic activity continued but there was no evidence of any recent ash ejection. No other notable changes in fumarole position were noted. Concern arose as to whether the event was triggered by El Chichón volcano. Before its devastating eruption in 1982, El Chichon Volcano was little known and did not appear on any listings of hazardous volcanoes. The 1982 eruption of El Chichón is the largest volcanic disaster in modern Mexican history. It was one of the most destructive events of that kind of the 20th century. At times, vapor formed only within about 1 m above this vent, suggesting that the gas is initially superheated. Geologists created hazard […] Two other large craters are located on the SW and SE flanks; a lava dome fills the SW crater, and an older dome is located on the NW flank. Macías, State Univ of New York, Buffalo, NY. The calculated mean emission rate at the lake's surface in March 2007 was 1,500 g/(m2/day), and in December 2007 a preliminary estimate was 860 g/(m2/day). Note the ash and volcanic debris still noticeable in many of the drainages and the crater lake in the summit caldera, replacing the dome that was blasted away during the eruption. In early June, there were several explosion pits on the floor of the new crater, all of which were filled with boiling water or mud and were emitting vapor. 2/3, p. 127-141. The deposits produced by this pyroclastic flow were 100 meters wide and 3 meters thick at its far end. In late October, after the end of the rainy season, geologists will climb the volcano and sample gases. and Sigurdsson, H., 1986, The 1982 Eruptions of El Chichón Volcano México (2): observations and numerical modelling of tephra-fall distribution: BV, v. 48, no. Geotherm. Development of lithic-breccias in the 1982 pyroclastic flow deposits of El Chichon Volcano, Mexico. This week–long eruptive outburst (VEI 5) produced world–wide volcanic gas clouds, extensive ash fall, and surges and pyroclastic flows. You can follow Erik on Twitter, where you'll get volcano... A magnetic ring could reduce needle sticks. Filter samples collected from the NASA aircraft showed that the plume was relatively poor in ash. Taran lamented the lack of people studying these features, even though they appeared quite spectacular, stating "We need a team of geographers to study this type of erosion, soil formation..." Many of Freeland's other photos in our archives also depict fumarolic and hydrothermal features. Activity during 28-29 March 1982. Solfataras and hot springs were present in the crater and on the flanks. Several terraces representing stationary lake levels were visible. Dense aerosol cloud spreads slowly northward. Farther away, only 28 March and 4 April tephra had been deposited. According to bathymetric data obtained during the April visit, the average depth of the lake is only 1.5 m. On the lake bottom several funnel-shaped areas about 5-6 m below the surface discharged bubbling gases. Ozone data from the Nimbus-7 polar orbiting satellite, available for the two weeks following the cloud's ejection, allowed its path to be clearly traced, and scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center hope to continue observations of its position as more satellite data arrives. On 8 August at 0922, while two of the geologists (J.L.M. Radon emanometry in soil gases and activity in ashes from El Chichon volcano. Since the eruptions of 1982, observations at El Chichón have indicated decreasing magmatic fluids. At Ixtacomitán, 18 km ENE of the summit, there was a heavy fall of tephra no larger than 4 cm in diameter and the army was sent to evacuate 3,000 residents. James Luhr calculated that [~0.30] km3 of tephra (converted to a density of 2.6 g/cm3) had fallen within the 0.1 cm isopach (figure 2). Lake temperature had increased from 28.6°C in 1986 to more than 40° in May 1992, nearing the 42° of October 1983 and February 1984. The thin blue line in front of the virtual needle can be used as a sight to line up punctures. J. Volcanol. No new eruptions; crater lake conditions unchanged. Welcome to Eruptions, a blog about all things volcanic. % SiO 2 , 2.2% MgO, 2.8% K 2 O, 0.4% P 2 O 5 , and over 1.2% SO 3 . After a brilliant sunset on 14 June, a dense layer at 20.2-23.1 km was accompanied by material at 26.5 km. Before the 1982 eruption, the volcano was heavily forested, with a shallow crater, 1,900 X 900 m, elongate NNW-SSE. The ratio of NO (measured by a chemoluminescent technique) to total sulfur gases (analyzed by flame photometry) was an order of magnitude higher in the El Chichón plume than at Arenal, Poás, Colima, and Mt. Since the 15 February visit, temperatures of the crater lake (36-37°C) and fumaroles (96-98°C) had declined slightly, and the crater lake level was somewhat lower after several weeks of very little rainfall. A major rockfall in the S part of the crater was probably associated with a 90-m-long fracture system observed in May 1992. However, sampling in December 1999 revealed that this is no longer the case. This material helped warm the stratosphere by 4°C and cool the north hemisphere by 0.4-0.6°C -- one of the most significant cases of cooling in the past few centuries. Univ. The pumice, a porphyritic trachyandesite, has a whole-rock silica content of about 57.5%; silica content of the glass is about 61%. Since last visited in February 1993, several rockfalls had occurred from the inner crater wall. The rapid escalation of activity at El Chichón is very similar to what happened at Chaitén in Chile during its 2008 eruption -- the time between the first signs of an impending major eruption from a volcano thought to be "dormant" and the explosion itself was very short. In 1982, the El Chichón volcano erupted in Chiapas, Mexico, killing 2,000 people. The emissions were H2S-rich, apparently partly because the lake (temperature 52°C, pH 0.56) and the ground water were selectively extracting SO2. Petrologic characteristics of the 1982 and pre-1982 eruptive products of El Chichon Volcano, Chiapas, Mexico. Inspection of a satellite image returned late 11 April showed a moderately dense cloud extending from México to just W of Hawaii, spreading from roughly 300 km wide near the Mexican coast to nearly 850 km near its distal end. The 22° angular distance from the sun indicated a particle size of 0.7-0.9 µm. However, recent research suggests this might not be possible based on the isotopic composition of the sulfur. J. Volcanol. Major erosion of pyroclastic flow deposits around El Chichón (figure 3) has taken place since the eruption. Government officials reported ashfall over an area of 24,000 km2 and crop damage of $55,000,000. The maps database originated over 30 years ago, but was only recently updated and connected to our main database. The crater morphology, notably the distribution of fumarolic fields, has on the whole remained stable since shortly after the 1982 eruptions. Ponds 1 m in diameter on the NW side of the lake contained vigorously boiling mud (rising <1 m) and water. Strong, NOAA. Since November 1985, the crater lake water temperature has been 28.6°C, in equilibrium with the environment. Information Contacts: S. de la Cruz-Reyna, UNAM, México. Geologists thought it was likely that pyroclastic flows had moved through the area. Information Contacts: King Freeland, Distrito Reynosa 157, Fracc. The summit of El Chichon after the 1982 eruption. Photographs taken in December 1983 showed little change in lake level since October; no information on lake level was available from the February visit. Information Contacts: H. Sigurdsson, Univ. Coyoacan, CP 04510, Mexico DF, Mexico (URL:; Nick Varley, Centre of Exchange and Research in Volcanology, Faculty of Science, University of Colima, Av. By early June, lidar observations and reports of unusual sunsets indicated that the cloud was beginning to move northward. . The two crater lakes observed in September had combined into a single bright yellow-green lake that covered more than 80% of the crater floor. © 2020 Condé Nast. No significant seismic activity has been recorded at El Chichón in recent months although some tectonic seismicity has occurred SE of the volcano. It was the worst volcanic disaster in Mexico's recorded history. Silicates and halite crystals of several µm in size were found. In September he reported that the water was too hot to touch. Many villagers who had fled the heavy tephra falls from the initial explosions 28-29 March, however, returned a few days later. One period ac-counting the eruptions of the last 3707years before the last eruption (BLE) is assumed to be complete, with no miss-ing relevant events. Stratospheric cloud. No large explosions have occurred at El Chichón since 4 April. Tilling, R., 1974, Rockfall activity in pit craters, Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii: Proceedings of the Symposium on "Andean and Antarctic Volcanology Problems", IAVCEI, Santiago, Chile, September 1974, p. 518-528. Quaternary volcanic rocks: insights from the MEXPET petrological and geochemical database. Geotherm. Temperature (43°C) and pH (1.9) of the lake had changed little since the previous visit on 21 October 1983 (42°C and 1.8). Explosive activity resumed about 2000. The pyroclastic flow was followed by two plinian eruptions that produced plumes that reached at least 29 km (see below). Where pyroclastic flows and surges did not surmount topographic barriers or deposited only a thin veneer of material, vegetation is much more lush, with trees, ferns, and other broad-leafed tropical plants. Bull Volcanol, 61: 411-422. So, although the volcano erupted infrequently, when it did, it did it with gusto (a typical pattern for volcanoes with longer repose times). The surface temperature of the lake is very uniform, and even above the gas funnels did not exceed 35°C. Throughout 1980 and 1981 there were a number of earthquakes in the area. In September 2001 he reported that visible fumarolic activity in the crater had dropped during the previous six months and had changed to a new area of the crater. Image courtesy of NASA.Image 3: The village of Francisco Leon before/after the 1982 eruption. No relationship between the earthquake and the volcano has been established. Similar conditions plus a Bishop's Ring were seen from Austin, Texas during the night of 5-6 June. Information Contacts: S. de la Cruz-Reyna, L. Silva M., UNAM, México; R. Tilling, USGS, Reston, VA; W. Wonderly, Albuquerque, NM; J. Gooding, NASA, Houston. El Chichón’s eruption should have led to a very cool summer, but this was offset by the exceptionally hot El Niño. Temperature and acidity of the crater lake at El Chichón, measured at sites on the SE and N shores. However, the effects of this eruption were not limited to Mexico. IAVCEI Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Plenary Assembly, Excursion no. Residents of Jacksonville, Florida also began to see brilliant sunsets 4 June. Geology of El Chichon volcano, Chiapas, Mexico. The ash plumes from El Chichón added a large load of sulfur dioxide (see below) and particulates to the atmosphere that circled the globe in a few weeks. No previous eruptions of El Chichón are known in historic time. and Oppenheimer, C., 2003. This activity is probably a result of the increased rainfall that reached 3,829 mm in the area January-October, compared to 3,219 mm measured during the same period last year. The following reports the results of fieldwork on 5-11 August. No new explosions; dense stratospheric cloud over N hemisphere. Vigorous feeding of the plume continued for several hours but had clearly ended by 0600. After the eruption, a dam on the Río Magdalena made of volcanic debris breached, flooding the valleys with hot water (as hot as 82°C) that destroyed bridges and a hydroelectric station. 1850). Such uniformity may indicate that the lake water is not significantly influenced by underlying magma and is highly affected by seasonal variations in precipitation and ambient temperature. During the seismic recording, the volcano was visited to obtain samples. of Rhode Island. of Wyoming; A. Meinel, M. Meinel, Univ. The large stratospheric cloud ejected by the 4 April explosion remained dense over lower northern latitudes, but lidar measurements indicated that gradual northward dispersal was continuing. Macias J L, Espindola J M, Bursik M, Sheridan M F, 1998. Careful inspection of visible satellite imagery from the NOAA 6 and 7 polar orbiters, the GOES East and West (U.S.), GMS (Japan), and Meteosat (Europe) geostationary weather satellites has permitted the tracking of the densest portion of the 4 April stratospheric cloud as it circled the globe from E to W. The cloud reached Hawaii by 9 April, Japan by 18 April, the Red Sea by 21 April, and had crossed the Atlantic Ocean by 26 April, dipping S to about 5°N at its W edge. Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. The very significant erosion that has occurred in the last 10 years allowed us to descend relatively easily into the crater through its SE wall, where the rim's altitude is 1,060 m. The crater floor is at 900 m elevation. A good correlation appeared between gas flux and ground temperature. This suggest an absence of new magmatic input since 1982. Over 24,000 square kilometers of countryside were covered with ash as a majority of the material erupted came in the form of airfall. The pyroclastic flow that traveled through Francisco León left only a thin deposit, but of the structures in the village, only one wall of the church, parallel to the direction of the pyroclastic flow's movement, remained standing. However, small earthquakes were felt around the area in 1980 into 1981, but little was done to increase monitoring around the supposedly quiet volcano. Future work. Table 3. To help the local government to dismiss (or confirm) those rumors, a special trip was made to deploy three portable seismic stations around the volcano, and to obtain more samples of the crater-lake water. NASA Earth Observatory images by Robert Simmon, using Landsat data from the USGS Global Visualization Viewer. Some hydro-geochemical fluctuations observed in Mexico related to volcanic activity. Scattering was about equal at all wavelengths except near-infrared, where the cloud was more transparent. Activity during 4 April 1982. Res., 23: 11-38. In the upper layer there were more than 500 particles of less than 0.01 µm/cm3 and about 20 particles larger than 1 µm/cm3. Sigurdsson H, Carey S N, Espindola J M, 1984. Further Reference. Petrographic and chemical data suggest an alkali-rich 'andesitic' composition. From Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, extinction of two times normal at 3,900 was measured in mid-May. Between these levels, winds were light and variable. Photos of crater lake and volcanic morphology. Two new sites were chosen. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. During this period, 21 shallow events with coda magnitudes <1.8 were registered. Tilling, R., Koyanagi, R., and Holcomb, R., 1975, Rockfall seismicity-correlation with field observations, Makaopuhi Crater, Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii: Journal of Research, U.S. Geological Survey, v. 3, p. 345-361. Data from laser radar (lidar) measurements at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii (about 19.5°N, 155.6°W) during the nights of 9-10 and 10-11 April indicated that El Chichón had injected large quantities of volcanic material into the stratosphere. The total eruption released about 1.1 cubic kilometers of material (dense rock equivalent), … This apparent increase in the level of the crater lake was the only significant change in El Chichón's morphology. All of the fumaroles produced sublimates, primarily native sulfur. The salinity was greater when the lake had higher volume. It also lowered atmospheric transmission of sunlight to the surface significantly. The drop in lake level prevented temperature and pH measurements at the same sites sampled last June. Although no heavy rainfall occurred between 18 April and 8 May, brief rains were common at night and may have diluted the lake with meteoric water, raising its pH. ; B. Mendonça, NOAA/ERL; J. Rosen, Univ. Geologists suggested that the halite sampled by NASA and anhydrite found in tephra near the volcano are probably the result of contamination by evaporites, which were found in bedrock penetrated by two Petroleos Mexicanos drillholes near El Chichón. The top of this glow was at 24 km, the highest altitude observed from Tucson thus far. Bull Volcanol, 58: 459-471. ; W. Zoller, Univ. However, their direction and speed of drift can be measured on a series of satellite images and then compared with known wind directions and speeds at various heights (in this case from the Veracruz radiosondes) to estimate altitudes. Recently exhumed fault planes veneered by secondary mineralization in the crater wall were also quite common. However, on Apr. El Chichón was the scene of large Plinian eruptions in 1982, and the crater hosts a shallow crater lake that has drastically varied in size since January 2001. Further Reference. This is a view of the El Chichon caldera, formed during the very explosive eruptions of late March and early April of 1982. ; S. de la Cruz-Reyna, UNAM, México; M. Matson, NOAA/NESS. Fatal flood after natural pyroclastic dam fails; stratospheric cloud effects; eruption summary, The following summary was prepared by L. Silva, J.J. Cochemé, R. Canul, W. Duffield, and R. Tilling. Optical depths of the cloud as measured with a sun photometer reached 0.3-0.4, increasing southward. 03/1982 (SEAN 07:03) Large explosions; voluminous ashfalls; many deaths; first eruption in historic time, 04/1982 (SEAN 07:04) 4 April stratospheric cloud circles the globe; minor explosive and seismic activity continues, 05/1982 (SEAN 07:05) Fatal flood after natural pyroclastic dam fails; stratospheric cloud effects; eruption summary, 06/1982 (SEAN 07:06) No new explosions; dense stratospheric cloud over N hemisphere, 07/1982 (SEAN 07:07) Stratospheric cloud continues N dispersal, 08/1982 (SEAN 07:08) Bulk of stratospheric cloud remains at low N latitudes, 09/1982 (SEAN 07:09) Small phreatic explosion; little northward movement of stratospheric cloud, 10/1982 (SEAN 07:10) High H2S and NO in plume; slow diffusion of stratospheric cloud, 11/1982 (SEAN 07:11) Dense aerosol cloud spreads slowly northward, 12/1982 (SEAN 07:12) No new activity; aerosol cloud continues dispersal, 01/1983 (SEAN 08:01) Strong H2S emissions but no new explosions, 02/1983 (SEAN 08:02) Vapor emission but no eruptive activity, 04/1983 (SEAN 08:04) Crater lake recedes rapidly, 10/1983 (SEAN 08:10) Fumarole and crater lake temperatures decline, 02/1984 (SEAN 09:02) No new eruptions; crater lake conditions unchanged, 03/1984 (SEAN 09:03) Plumes on satellite images not caused by eruptions, 09/1986 (SEAN 11:09) Magnitude 3 earthquake nearby but crater unchanged, 11/1990 (BGVN 15:11) Thermal activity continues; no seismicity or dome growth, 06/1992 (BGVN 17:06) Frequent rockfalls and continued thermal activity, 09/1992 (BGVN 17:09) Occasional seismicity; lake less acidic, 02/1993 (BGVN 18:02) Fumarolic activity continues; lake chemistry unchanged, 05/1995 (BGVN 20:05) Fumarolic activity; lake level drops compared to 1993, 08/1998 (BGVN 23:08) Changes in hydrothermal activity noticed in April, 09/2000 (BGVN 25:09) Warming and solute concentration rises detected during December 1999 visit, 10/2001 (BGVN 26:10) Crater lake water level lower in September 2001 despite increased rainfall, 05/2004 (BGVN 29:05) Photos of crater lake and volcanic morphology, 12/2007 (BGVN 32:12) Stable with tremor; hot spring; significant crater-lake-volume variations, Large explosions; voluminous ashfalls; many deaths; first eruption in historic time. 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