Persistent summit subsidence at Volcán de Colima, México, 1982–1999: strong evidence against Mogi deflation

Murray, John B. and Wooller, Luke K. (2002). Persistent summit subsidence at Volcán de Colima, México, 1982–1999: strong evidence against Mogi deflation. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 117(1-2) pp. 69–78.



This paper re-examines recent ground-deformation measurements at Volcán de Colima, Mexico, to test the hypothesis that the observed movements are in response to pressure changes within a sub-volcanic magma chamber, as suggested for other volcanoes by [Mogi (1958) Earthq. Res. Inst. 36, 99-134]. Measurements of vertical ground deformation across the summit dome complex of Volcán de Colima from a precise levelling network between 1982 and 1999, together with vertical and horizontal displacements derived from dual-frequency GPS measurements in 1994 and 1997, show continuous subsidence. The deformation pattern derived from the levelling shows that subsidence increases towards the summit. The closest stations to the summit (1.1 km distant) show a mean subsidence rate of 5 mm per year compared to the reference station at 2.3 km distance, which may be subsiding itself. Vertical displacements of individual stations since 1982 show that the subsidence has been fairly continuous. The GPS stations, which are distributed more widely and include some close to the edge of the active dome, confirm summit subsidence. The largest measured value, a decrease of 280 mm, or 93 mm subsidence per year, was obtained at the edge of the dome. Horizontal displacements measured during 1994–1997 also show the largest values at the summit, but these are much smaller than the vertical displacements, with the maximum rate of 23 mm per year recorded close to the dome. It is conclusively shown that these measured movements cannot be due to deflation of a buried Mogi source, as vertical and horizontal displacements for some stations are in contrary directions to those predicted by the model, and there is no consistent pattern to the horizontal movements. We attribute the measured deformation to downslope creep, settling and compaction of the edifice, gravitational spreading, or a combination of these processes.

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