Volcanic crystals in the Nevado de Toluca could generate devastating eruption

Swiss volcanologists from the University of Geneva and Heidelberg discovered a method that proves that dormant volcanoes such as Nevado de Toluca, wake up with very disastrous eruptions.

State of Mexico.- Volcano specialists from the universities of Geneva and Heidelberg have created a method that can predict the eruption of volcanoes that have been inactive for years, such as the Nevado de Toluca volcano, located in the State of Mexico, with a devastating explosion.

Through the analysis of volcanic crystals, specialists can determine the amount of magma that inactive volcanoes contain inside, and the power with which it can be expelled to the surface of the volcano in the form of lava.

The volcanologists’ research, published in the science journal Nature Communications, details that mostly dormant volcanoes tend to have more devastating explosions than those that are continuously expelling incandescent material. 

This is due to the pressure generated inside the dormant volcanoes that continues to accumulate over hundreds of years and ends in a mega explosion once the pressure is released.

In addition, human settlements are usually established near inactive volcanoes because they do not represent an immediate danger compared to active volcanoes.

Considering these characteristics, the Nevado de Toluca , also known as Xinantécatl, is a representative example of a dormant volcano located in the vicinity of Mexico City. The results were used to determine the maximum possible size of a future eruption of this volcano, which at 350 km3 could have a potentially devastating effect. 

Knowing the size of a volcanic deposit is important to identify the volcanoes that are most likely to produce a large eruption in the future. Our method is a new way of evaluating candidates for such eruptions, “the study explains.

Mexico has 2,000 active volcanoes, of which only 42 are recognized and 12 are considered dangerous.

The Nevado de Toluca is one of the volcanoes in the country that has been inactive for a long period of time since its last eruption was registered in 1350, and since then it has not presented any signs of activity, which increases the risk of sudden strong explosion.