Scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) warned that the intermittent seismic activity registered in the state of Michoacán could be related to the birth of a new volcano.
During a remote press conference, the researchers detailed that a set of small tremors has recently occurred in the region, these are sometimes imperceptible to humans. This phenomenon is called a seismic swarm.
They explained that between May 1 and June 8, 242 micro-earthquakes were recorded in Uruapan and the Michoacán-Guanajuato volcanic corridor, of which six had a magnitude greater than four. From January to June, 305 quakes were recorded, and seismic swarms were recorded in January 2020. A total of 4,102 earthquakes have been registered in the last 12 months.
Other phenomena that occur before a volcanic eruption are seismic activity, ground deformation, gas emissions, hydrothermal manifestations, and visible alterations, he clarified.
“The main question that arises with this volcanic activity, is Mexico a volcanically active country? Especially in that region of Michoacan, where there are more than 1,200 small volcanoes in the so-called Michoacán-Guanajuato volcano field,” he commented.
The researcher from the Institute of Geophysics (IGf) recalled that, in 1943, after a series of earthquakes, the Paricutín Volcano literally emerged from the ground up to 424 meters (1,400 feet) high.
“These swarms are assumed to be associated with the movement of magma, but they do not always reach the surface. These swarms appeared in 1997, 1999, and 2006, and the magma did not reach the surface. Maybe the same is happening now, so it is very important to continue to monitor them, ”said Denis Xavier Francois Legrand, also a member of the IGf.
Luis Antonio Domínguez Ramírez, professor at the National School of Higher Studies (ENES) Morelia, recommended the inhabitants of the area be attentive to the emanations of gases that also accompany the emergence of volcanic activity.
“The emission of gases is easy to detect to a certain extent due to the smell of sulfur, as well as hydrothermal manifestations and damage to vegetation, which dries up when it receives higher temperatures than usual from the ground. We have the support of the National Seismological Service to monitor the area”, Domínguez Ramírez pointed out.
The academics recommended maintaining strict scientific surveillance of the area and being aware of the risk maps and the recommendations of the Civil Protection authorities.