Mexico week 17 – Springs again!

This week we finally made it out into the field for a full fieldtrip. We had some fun problem solving to get around locked gates and more truck problems – part of the exhaust became disconnected and part had rusted away, we also had some interesting power-loss issues!

We finally made it back into the jungle and were off to look for the springs. If you read my previous post, you’ll know that the jungle containing two of the four springs can be unforgiving. As the only one who had been before, I tried to give warnings of what plants/insects to avoid, but we all got our fair share of bites and sore skin! We found the lower spring first, measuring the temperature, pH, dissolved solids and a few other things. We also collected water samples to be sent off or analysis.

It is important we monitor these springs, as changes to the water emerging from them can indicate processes moving beneath the volcano, and may help to indicate when we should be worried about the volcano! We found the upper spring second – celebrating as this one can be very hard to find! In this case, the GPS brought us close, then we followed a cow that lead us to the spring – thank you cow! We knew we’d hit the right water as the upper spring measures higher temperatures – around 26°c. It gave us a new lease of energy to finish the trip – hiking up the barranca containing the last spring. We walked through the deep valley, past layers of PDCs (pyroclastic density currents, or ‘pyroclastic flows’) which flow down the barrancas when the volcano is erupting. The barranca floor is covered by debris from lahars (fast moving flows of volcanic material), including volcanic rocks washed down from the volcano’s flanks. The barrancas are kind of stunning in their own rugged way! Once we’d collected all of our samples, we headed back to Colima to prep the samples ready for analysis.

I can’t believe I only have a few of weeks left in Mexico. I’m starting to prepare my leaving report and presentation, and I’m ticking off all of the things on my Mexico bucket list! Watch out for my next blog – tonight I board a bus bound for the world’s youngest volcano, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

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