Isla Socorro


Socorro Island belongs to the state of Colima and is a natural spectacle. It is a volcanic island that had its last eruption in the year 1993.

Isla Socorro is part of the state of Colima and is a natural spectacle. It is a volcanic island that had its last eruption in the year 1993. It has been called the "Galapagos of Mexico" due to its isolation and the number of endemic species. It is famous for its marine life; its waters are teaming with life with some of the largest manta rays to be found anywhere, many species of shark and a huge abundance of lobsters.

The island is only inhabited by some 50 members of the Mexican Navy on a base situated on one of the many lava flows. Visits are strictly controlled to preserve the wildlife.

We have been visiting the island since 2001, to evaluate the current activity and begin several research projects. Previous studies of the island's geology are limited. Visits are made once or twice per year. Each time we take samples of the water from the few springs that exist around the island. These are all very close to sea-level. The subsequent geochemical analysis is one way to check for changes within the volcanic system. Samples are also taken of the gases released from the fumaroles associated with the active hydrothermal system near the summit. More than 200 fumaroles are located on or around a dome to the north of the summit, with another small group of fumaroles to the south. Their temperatures remain at or below the boiling point of water. It is believed that the hydrothermal system is vapour-dominated and it produces unusually high concentrations of hydrogen and methane. Recently, evidence suggests that the system is expanding since some new fumaroles have formed over the past few years. The remains of highly eroded fractures indicate that there was more hydrothermal activity some time ago.

Isla Socorro represents an ideal location to a hydrothermal system and to integrate different data sets. LINK to Integration of geochemical and geophysical methods in volcanology