Jorge Valencia is a reporter with KJZZ’s Fronteras Desk. This story is published as part of a collaboration between KJZZ and The Arizona Republic.
It’s unknown how a lagoon appeared at the bottom of central Mexico’s Aljojuca volcano, but legend says it could have involved a cow, a puddle and a mermaid.
For generations, families have been traveling to the half-mile-long, deep-blue lagoon at the bottom of the volcano, found four hours east of Mexico City. Now, Arizona students are trying to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Eight students from Northern Arizona University and the National Autonomous University of Mexico are studying this volcano and another one nearby in what is called the Serdan Oriental volcanic field. They want to make a map of what’s beneath the surface to better understand what’s above.
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The students are implementing numerous tests, including using sledge hammers to generate tiny earthquakes and send vibrations through the Earth. The vibrations hit rocks beneath and bounce back to special sensors the students placed on the surface.
Their research will help identify more information on the area, such as when the volcanoes exploded, for how long and where the magma came from.
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