Geochemical surveillance of magmatic volatiles at Popocatepetl volcano, Mexico

Fraser Goff, Cathy J. Janik, Hugo Delgado, Cindy Werner, Dale Counce, James A. Stimac, Claus Siebe, S. P. Love, Stanley Williams, Tobias Fischer, L. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Surveillance of Popocatepetl volcanic plume geochemistry and SO 2 flux began in early 1994 after fumarolic and seismic activity increased significantly during 1993. Volatile traps placed around the summit were collected at near-monthly intervals until the volcano erupted on December 21, 1994. Additional trap samples were obtained in early 1996 before the volcano erupted again, emplacing a small dacite dome in the summit crater. Abundances of volatile constituents (ppm/day of Cl, S total , F, CO 2 , Hg, and As) vaaried, but most constituents were relatively high in earl\y and late 1994. However, ratios of these constituents to Cl were highest in mid-1994. δ 34 S-S total in trap solutions ranged from 1.5‰ to 6.4‰; lowest values generally occurred during late 1994. δ 13 C-CO 2 of trap solutions were greatly contaminated with atmospheric CO 2 and affected by absorption kinetics. When trap data are combined with SO 2 flux measurements made through November 1996, Popocatepetl released about 3.9 Mt SO 2 , 16 Mt CO 2 , 0.75 Mt HCl, 0.075 Mt HF, 260 t As, 2.6 t Hg, and roughly 200 Mt H 2 O. Near-vent gas concentrations in the volcanic plume measured by correlation spectrometer (COSPEC) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) commonly exceed human recommended exposure limits and may constitute a potential health hazard. Volatile geochemistry combined with petrologic observations and melt-inclusion studies show that mafic magma injection into a preexisting silicic chamber has accompanied renewed volcanism at Popocatepetl. Minor assimilation of Cretaceous wall rocks probably occurred in mid-1994.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-710
Number of pages16
JournalBulletin of the Geological Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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