This field guide describes a five day trip to examine deposits of Late Pleistocene-Holocene cataclysmic eruptions at Nevado de Toluca and Jocotitlan volcanoes in central Mexico. We will discuss the stratigraphy, petrology, and sedimentological characteristics of these deposits which provide insights into the eruptive history, type of volcanic activity, and transport and emplacement mechanisms of pyroclastic materials. These parameters will allow us to discuss the kinds of hazards and the risk that they pose to populations around these volcanoes. The area to be visited is tectonically complex thus we will also discuss the location of the volcanoes with respect to the tectonic environment. The first four days of the field trip will be dedicated to Nevado de Toluca Volcano (19 degrees 09'N; 99 degrees 45'W) located at 23 km. southwest of the City of Toluca, and is the fourth highest peak in the country, reaching an elevation of 4,680 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.). Nevado de Toluca is an andesitic-dacitic stratovolcano, composed of a central vent excavated upon the remains of older craters destroyed by former events. Bloomfield and Valastro, (1974, 1977) concluded that the last cycle of activity occurred nearly equal 11,600 yr. ago. For this reason Nevado de Toluca has been considered an extinct volcano. Our studies, however, indicate that Nevado de Toluca has had at least two episodes of cone destruction by sector collapse as well as several explosive episodes including plinian eruptions and dome-destruction events. These eruptions occurred during the Pleistocene but a very young eruption characterized by surge and ash flows occurred ca. 3,300 yr. BP. This new knowledge of the volcano's eruptive history makes the evaluation of its present state of activity and the geological hazards necessary. This is important because the area is densely populated and large cities such as Toluca and Mexico are located in its proximity.
Additional publication details
Late Pleistocene-Holocene cataclysmic eruptions at Nevado de Toluca and Jocotitlan volcanoes, central Mexico