BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Michael Sheridan, University at Buffalo
professor emeritus of geology, can discuss Mexico’s
Popocatepetl volcano, which has entered a heightened phase of
The mountain has been spewing towering clouds of ash and steam
since mid-April, putting local residents on alert.
Sheridan has been studying Popocatepetl for years. After the
volcano’s last significant eruption, in December 2000, he and
a team of researchers developed a map showing which communities
around the volcano could be threatened by mud flows during a major
"The great danger that ‘Popo’ presents is that there
is a dense population in an area that potentially could be affected
by a really big eruption," Sheridan said. "They say more than 25
million people live in and around Mexico City."
"Since the end of the last Ice Age (14,000 years ago) there have
been five really large eruptions of Popo," he added. "The oldest of
these big eruptions sent blocks the size of a person’s fist
to the middle of Mexico City. The most recent big eruption resulted
in mudflows that inundated a large pre-Hispanic city near where the
city of Puebla sits today."
Sheridan said that such a large event would "give distinctive
precursor signals prior to an eruption that the civil protection
authorities and scientists in the region could detect."
For Sheridan’s contact information and a Q&A
discussing why Popocatepetl is one of the world’s most
dangerous volcanoes, visit UB’s Faculty Experts blog at http://ubfacultyexperts.buffalo.edu/mexicos-rumbling-popocatepetl-volcano.