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Cerro Prieto

Photo of this volcano
  • Mexico
  • Minor (Lava dome)
  • Unknown - Evidence Uncertain
  • Country
  • Landform (Volc Type)
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 32.418°N
  • 115.305°W

  • 223 m
    732 ft

  • 341000
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Cerro Prieto.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Cerro Prieto.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Cerro Prieto.

The Global Volcanism Program has no synonyms or subfeatures listed for Cerro Prieto.

Eruptive History

The Global Volcanism Program is not aware of any Holocene eruptions from Cerro Prieto. If this volcano has had large eruptions (VEI >= 4) prior to 10,000 years ago, information might be found on the Cerro Prieto page in the LaMEVE (Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions) database, a part of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).

Deformation History

There is data available for 2 deformation periods. Expand each entry for additional details.


Deformation during 2004 Dec - 2005 Dec [Subsidence; Observed by InSAR]

Start Date: 2004 Dec Stop Date: 2005 Dec Direction: Subsidence Method: InSAR
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

Remarks: An interferogram stack shows that the subsiding area is correlated with the area of the Cierro Prieto pull-apart basin, suggesting that tectonic faults control the spatial extent of the subsidence.

Figure (see Caption)

(a) Geocoded map of LOS displacement rate (cm/yr) for December 2004?December 2005 period obtained using the stacking technique. (b) and (c) Best-fit model predicted LOS displacements. (d) Residuals between observed (a) and predicted (b) LOS displacements. Areas of low coherence (b0.1) are masked in (a), (c), and (d). Black square shows location of the reference benchmark ?10037?. Black dotted line frames the limits of the CPGF. Black lines correspond to the profiles A?A?, B?B? and C?C? illustrated in Fig. 7. Brown rectangles in (b) and (d) show the tensional rectangular cracks of the best-fit model (Table 4). Faults notation is as in Fig. 2b.

From: Sarychikhina et al 2011.


Reference List: Sarychikhina et al 2011.

Full References:

Sarychikhina, O. E. Glowacka, R. Mellors and F. Suárez Vidal, 2011. Land subsidence in the Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field, Baja California, Mexico, from 1994 to 2005: An integrated analysis of DInSAR, leveling and geological data. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 204 (2011) 76-90.

Deformation during 1993 - 1997 [Subsidence; Observed by InSAR]

Start Date: 1993 Stop Date: 1997 Direction: Subsidence Method: InSAR
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: 32.000 Longitude: -115.000

Remarks: Geothermal extraction

Figure (see Caption)

Enlargement of the geothermal area. a) Interferometric combination d (16.12.1995/04.05.1996). One full color cycle corresponds to 28 mm of range change, i.e. 30 mm of vertical displacement. The west part of the subsidence halo is masked by the evaporation pond, which is easy to distinguish because water surface coherence is close to zero; b) The best-fit model obtained using an elastic deformation model with 5 sources; c) Fringe residuals between the real and the simulated interferograms.

From: Carnec and Fabriol 1999.


Reference List: Carnec and Fabriol 1999.

Full References:

Carnec C, Fabriol H, 1999. Monitoring and modeling land subsidence at the Cerro Prieto geothermal field, Baja California, Mexico, using SAR interferometry. Geophysical Research Letters, 26: 1211-1214.

Emission History

There is no Emissions History data available for Cerro Prieto.

Photo Gallery

The Cerro Prieto geothermal field on the Colorado River delta in NW México, seen here in 1998, is a large producing geothermal field. This view shows the Unit 1 power plant. Exploration drilling began in 1959 and by the mid-1980s more than 100 wells had been drilled to depths as great as 3.5 km. Despite few surface volcanic features, the hydrothermal system covers an area of more than 100 km2.

Photo by Pat Dobson, 1998 (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory).
The Cerro Prieto lava dome is seen here beyond an evaporation pond of the Cerro Prieto geothermal field at the head of the Gulf of California, 35 km south of the city of Mexicali. The first geothermal power plants began operation at Cerro Prieto in 1973; nine power plants and about 130 wells were in operation in 1997.

Photo by Pat Dobson, 1998 (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory).
Cerro Prieto is a compound rhyodacite lava dome and is the only volcanic feature of the major Cerro Prieto geothermal field. It is the northernmost volcanic field in México and rises above the arid floor of the Imperial valley at the head of the Gulf of California, 35 km south of the city of Mexicali. The dome was constructed along a NE-trending fracture and a 200-m-wide crater is located at the summit of the NE-most dome.

Photo by Marshall Reed, 1959 (U.S. Department of Energy).
The Cerro Prieto compound rhyodacite lava dome is the only volcanic feature of the Cerro Prieto geothermal field. A 200-m-wide crater is located at the summit of the NE-most dome. The dome probably formed during at least five eruptive stages between about 100,000 and 10,000 years ago, with both magmatic and phreatic activity. Explorers in the mid-1500s reported steam and sulfuric gases.

Photo by Brian Hausback, 1995 (California State University, Sacramento).
GVP Map Holdings

Maps are not currently available due to technical issues.

The maps shown below have been scanned from the GVP map archives and include the volcano on this page. Clicking on the small images will load the full 300 dpi map. Very small-scale maps (such as world maps) are not included.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Cerro Prieto in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

External Sites