Following an initial phreatic eruption on 21 December 1994, activity at Popocatepetl has been dominated by fumarolic emissions interspersed with more energetic emissions of ashes and gases. A phase of repetitive dome-building and dome-destroying episodes began in March 1996 and is still ongoing at present. We describe the long-period (LP) seismicity accompanying eruptive activity at Popocatepetl from December 1994 through May 2000, using data from a three-component broadband seismometer located 5 km from the summit crater. The broadband records display a variety of signals, with periods ranging in the band 0.04-90 s. Long-period events and tremor with typical dominant periods in the range 0.3-2.0 s are the most characteristic signals observed at Popocatepetl. These signals appear to reflect volumetric sources driven by pressure fluctuations associated with the unsteady transport of gases beneath the crater. Very-long-period (VLP) signals are also observed in association with LP events and tremor. The VLP signals which accompany LP events display Ricker-like wavelets with periods near 36 s, whereas VLP signals associated with tremor waveforms typically show sustained oscillations at periods ranging up to 90 s. The spectra and particle motion patterns remain similar from event to event for the majority of LP and tremor signals analyzed during the time span of this study, suggesting a repeated, non-destructive activation of a common source. Hypocenters determined by phase pick analyses of selected LP events recorded by the seven-station, permanent Popocatepetl short-period network suggest that the majority of these events are confined to a source region in the top 1.5 km below the crater floor. The repetitive occurrences of VLP signals with closely matched waveform characteristics are consistent with a non-destructive reactivation of at least two sources. One source appears to coincide with the main source region of LP seismicity, whereas the second is a deeper source whose activity appears to be intimately linked with episodes of monochromatic tremor.
Additional publication details
Long-period events and tremor at Popocatepetl volcano (1994-2000) and their broadband characteristics