A new museum 40 kilometers northwest of the Yucatán state capital – Mérida – is expected to open later this year to explain the nearby Chicxulub Crater, created by an asteroid impact 65 million years ago, and believed to be responsible for the demise of the dinosaurs.
Katherine Kornei has just published an interesting account of the recent effects in Mexico City of ground subsidence on the city’s metro system:
Amazing what is possible using satellite technology!
There are press reports of red-hot rocks emerging last weekend at a location known as “Pueblo Viejo” in the municipality of Venustiano Carranza in the state of Michoacán, a short distance east of Lake Chapala. That location is not far from the famous mud volcanoes, “Los Negritos” at Villamar, described in chapter 6 of my book Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury.
Note: Please note that this is an on-going event; this post will be updated and, if necessary, rewritten, as further information becomes available.
The reports say activity began on Saturday 8 July 2017. Cracks and fissures have appeared in the middle of a soccer pitch in Pueblo Viejo, and smoke, vapor and red-hot rocks emitted. Some reports refer to two goats having been found burned to a crisp, and say that subsoil temperatures up to 250 degrees Celsius have been recorded.
Short video related to this event: http://www.hoyestado.com/2017/07/
Expert geologists are on their way to assess the situation and try to determine the cause and potential impacts.
Update – 11 July 2017:
Panic over! Geologists from UNAM have discounted the possibility that this is the birth of a new volcano and determined that this is a “geothermal fault” giving rise to a phenomenon that is more similar to the fumaroles found in some areas where volcanoes were previously active. The Lake Chapala area is part of Mexico’s Volcanic Axis which was very tectonically active millions of years ago.
This screenshot of Google Maps shows the approximate location:
The most famous new volcano in historic times is Paricutín Volcano, located further east in Michoacán. Parictuín was active between 1943 and 1952.
Press reports (Spanish:
- Brota lava en Venustiano Carranza, Michoacán; podría ser el nacimiento de un volcán
- Descartan especialistas de la UNAM nacimiento de volcan en Michoacán
- The story of Paricutín volcano in Michoacán
- Geographic tongue-twister relating to a volcano
- A small village in Mexico won a 2004 UN Development Prize
- Book describing Paricutín volcano in the state of Michoacán, Mexico
- Paricutin Volcano in Mexico celebrates its 70th birthday
- The world’s smallest volcano is in Puebla, Mexico
We rarely post straight links to other sites without detailed commentary but every rule has exceptions and this spectacular selection of 30 Google Earth images from The Atlantic more than deserves a close look:
Previous visually-stunning or visually-interesting posts on Geo-Mexico include:
In 2009 Feike de Jong walked the entire perimeter of Mexico City to capture the strange scenery of its fringes. The 800-km trek took him 51 days.
These two Guardian articles tell the story of his trip:
- Cockfights in the edgelands: the man who walked Mexico City’s perimeter
- The very edge of a city: Mexico City’s deepest hinterlands – in pictures
The author’s ebook Limits: On Foot Along the Edge of the Megalopolis of the Valley of Mexico, with the full story and more images, is due to be released later this year.
Want to learn more about Mexico City?
Mexican market research firm Gabinete de Comunicación Estratégica polled 30,400 people across the country to compile its 10th annual survey of the most livable cities in Mexico. The survey was carried out by telephone between 30 June and 19 July this year. Respondents in Mexico’s 60 most populous municipalities and Mexico City’s 16 delegaciones were asked a series of questions related to quality of life and level of services provided in each city. [Given the sample size, at a confidence level of 95% the maximum expected error for each municipality was ±4.9%]
The survey looked at numerous variables to quantify “quality of life”, including housing, schools, mobility, air pollution and employment. The survey also considered satisfaction with services, and satisfaction with the performance of the city’s mayor.
For quality of life, the top ranking city overall, for the second year running, was Mérida (Yucatán), which scored 77.6 points out of 100, followed by Saltillo (77), Aguascalientes (71.6), Colima (70.9) and Campeche (69.8). Monterrey came in 12th in the survey rankings (see table), while Guadalajara placed in the middle.
The four least livable cities in the study were Villahermosa (52.9), Naucalpan (51.3), Chilpancingo (49.8) and Ecatepec (48.8).
- Full report: Ciudades más habitables de México 2016 (pdf)
- The most livable cities in Mexico 2015
- Which cities have the best and worst water systems in Mexico?
- An update on the Human Development Index in Mexico (Mar 2015)
- Have big cities in Mexico succeeded in meeting people’s needs? (Sep 2013)
- Three Mexican cities among 100 most competitive cities in the world (May 2014)
- The market for commercial and industrial real estate in Mexico (Mar 2014)
This proposal sounds a lot more 21st century than Trump’s plan for a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border. Will either proposal ever actually happen? Most likely not. But that does not prevent us from considering the former project one more than worthy of mention here.
Young Mexican architect Fernando Romero has long believed that “building bridges” is preferable to creating obstacles and that conventional boundaries “are just becoming symbolic limits.”Romero was named a “Global Leader of Tomorrow” at the World Economic Forum in 2002.
To illustrate his viewpoint, Romero recently released a master plan for a walkable, super-connected metropolis straddling the U.S.-Mexico border. More than a decade ago, Romero’s architecture firm proposed a tunnel-like “Bridging Museum” crossing the Mexico-U.S. border in the Rio Grande Valley. His more recent suggestion of a utopian border city, presented at the London Design Biennale, is far more ambitious and would take advantage of the concept of special economic zones (employed earlier this year by Mexico’s federal government to stimulate development in several southern states).
To read more about this exciting proposal, with numerous stunning images of what it might look like, see “Instead of Trump’s Wall, Why Not a Binational Border City?“
For more about the U.S.-Mexico border zone, see these related Geo-Mexico posts:
- The Transnational Metropolitan Areas of Mexico-USA
- Cross-border tribe faces a tough future
- Mexico and US agree to work together to fight trans-border wildfires
- The curious history of Ambos Nogales, twin cities either side of the Mexico-USA border
- Meandering river leads to border dispute
- Mexicali receives more deportees than any other Mexican border city
- Two examples of Mexico-USA trans-border water pollution
- Two examples of trans-border air pollution on the Mexico-USA border
A study just released by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, Doing Business en México 2016, compares Mexico’s 32 states for the paperwork, time and costs associated with four major indicators: opening a new business, obtaining construction permits, registering industrial property rights and the resolution of commercial disputes.
- Doing business in Mexico 2016 (Full report, in Spanish)
The report concludes that the seven best states in which to do business are Aguascalientes, the State of Mexico, Colima, Puebla, Sinaloa, Guanajuato and Durango, all of which offer a better performance than the average for OECD high income countries.
The three states that have advanced the most towards implementing international best practices since 2014 are Puebla, Jalisco and the State of México.
The map shows the rank order of states for doing business, from green (the best) to red (the lowest ranking). Unlike many maps of state-by-state performance, this map does not show any evidence for the north-south divide we have repeatedly commented on in the past.
- Which are the best states in Mexico for doing business? (Jul 2014)
- Mexico City attracting businesses from northern Mexico (Sep 2011)
- Micro-businesses improve economic and social outlook for irregular settlements (Apr 2011)
- Which states in Mexico are most competitive in business terms? (Nov 2010)
- The geography of Mexico City: index page (Nov 2013)
Mexico’s famed Hidden Beach (Playa Escondida), aka as the Beach of Love (Playa del Amor), has reopened for limited tourism following a three month closure for cleaning and restoration work.
The beach is on one of the small, uninhabited Marieta Islands, in the Marieta Islands National Park, off the west coast of Mexico, and relatively close to the resort of Puerto Vallarta. It is one of Mexico’s most beautiful small beaches, looking from the air (image) like an “eye to the sky”.
In earlier posts, we considered how Playa Escondida (“Hidden Beach”) was formed and also looked at the not inconsiderable downside to publicizing one of Mexico’s most beautiful beaches.
After a study by University of Guadalajara researchers found that local coral was dying and argued that the beach could support no more than 625 visitors a day (compared to the estimated 2500 who visit it on vacation days), federal authorities closed the beach and prohibited access while they considered how best to regulate future visits.
Mexico’s National Protected Areas Commission (Conanp) has now announced new regulations governing visits to the island and to the beach. It is limiting visitors to 116/day, well below the University of Guadalajara figure for carrying capacity of 625/day/.
In addition, no single group may have more than 15 members. No diving is allowed. Fins, face masks and snorkels are all prohibited. Visits have a strict time limit of 30 minutes. The beach, visted by more than 125,000 in 2015, will be completely closed two days each week for maintenance and monitoring.
Only time will tell if these measures will be sufficient to ensure that this particular gem of Mexico’s hundreds of amazing geosites will still be there for future generations to admire and appreciate.
- Can Mexico’s Environmental Agency protect Mexico’s coastline?
- Punta de Mita: forced migration due to tourism development
- Conflict at Cabo Pulmo: mass tourism meets ecotourism
- Geotourism and geomorphosites in Mexico
- 30 top geotourism sites in Mexico (Geo-Mexico special)
- Beach erosion in the tourist resort of Cancún, Mexico
- How valuable are Mexico’s mangrove swamps?
State-owned Pemex currently has six oil refineries in Mexico, which process around 1.05 million barrels/day (b/d) of crude.
The company has now shelved plans to add a $10-billion refinery at Tula (Hidalgo) owing to doubts about its long-term viability. It does seem that it is unlikely to be needed since Mexico’s energy reforms have led to several private companies submitting proposals to build less expensive, modular “mini-refineries” in Mexico. Each of these mini-refineries is 80-90% smaller than any of the six giant Pemex refineries.
A consortium of U.S. firms, Refinerías Unidas de México (Refmex), plans to invest 11.6 billion dollars to build 9 mini-refineries, starting with a $1.5billion refinery in Campeche with the capacity to refine between 40,000 and 60,000 b/d. Construction would take between 18 and 30 months.
Other proposed locations (map) include Cadereyta (Nuevo León), Dos Bocas (Tabasco), Minatitlán (Veracruz), Lázaro Cárdenas (Michoacán), Manzanillo (Colima), Salina Cruz (Oaxaca), Tula (Hidalgo) and Tuxpan (Veracruz). Several of these locations are in the recently announced federal Special Economic Zones, which offer fiscal incentives to investors.
- Pemex: the government cash cow that environmentalists love to hate (Jul 2011)
- Why does Mexico need to import refined petroleum products? (Nov 2011)
- How long will Mexico’s oil reserves last? (Apr 2012)
- How many oil refineries does Pemex have? (Sep 2012)
- Mexico is the world’s most energy secure among large economies (Apr 2013)
- Pemex works at its Clean Fuels Policy (May 2014)
- All Pemex refineries now making clean fuel (Jun 2016)