My 6th week in Mexico and we spent the week working with a TV crew from Once Channel, who travelled to Colima from Mexico City. Our week was full of fieldtrips to all of the best field locations around the volcano so they could get an idea of the monitoring and research activities running at CIIV. They observed gas data collection with the FLYSPEC, thermal camera and blue cam. We had another successful trip to Montegrande to collect more PDC samples, and to continue looking at trees affecting by the same pyroclastic flow. At the end of the week we made the long journey to the Parque Nacional Volcán Nevado de Colima.
The drive to the national park took several hours. Once at the gate our journey was not yet over. We had to drive the length of the ridge between Nevado de Colima and Volcán de Colima. The track isn’t particularly bad, so it shouldn’t have taken us too long, however, a storm last week had brought down several trees. Eight times we had to stop to break up the trees in out path, taking turns with the axe until the pieces where small enough for our group to move. At one bend in the road, we had to grab the shovels and dig out part of a narrow section. It took us over 8 hours to reach our campsite, much longer than we were expecting! The last hour or so of the drive wasn’t too bad, as we enjoyed a fantastic sunset over the mountains!
We woke up early the next morning to begin climbing up to the main flanks of the volcano. We looked at more PDC deposits, monitoring equipment and other interesting features along the way. The clear morning and close view of the volcano also gave the TV crew a chance to get some awesome shots of the volcano. During the afternoon, we climbed up to the 2014 lava flow to take some samples and measure the flow front. Small pockets of steam were rising from gaps in the lava flow. This steam suggests that the flow in still warm in the centre and lower parts – as rain water and low cloud percolates through the rocks, the heat is enough to cause it to evaporate to steam! Pretty cool!
We left late in the afternoon, once again chancing the sunset back to Colima, arriving back late to the dark lab. We packed away the kit and headed home. I was asleep the second I laid down on my bed – it has been a very busy week!